Mick Conlan has one goal as a professional fighter.
Not to sell out an arena in Belfast, not to become a World champion, but to become Ireland’s greatest ever fighter.
The Belfast super bantamweight last night announced that he is to turn pro with the promotional backing of Bob Arum’s Top Rank, and is already targeting legendary status.
The 24 year old, tentatively scheduled to begin with a bang at the famous Madison Square Garden venue in New York on St Patrick’s weekend next year, spoke to Dan Rafael of ESPN about his pro ambitions and described how “I’m really looking forward to all of this.”
“It’s going to be big. I’ll take the opportunity with both hands.”
“I couldn’t be with a better team than Top Rank. They’ll take me to a World title.”
While the World Amateur Champion does not enter the pro ranks with an Olympic gold in his pocket, he plans to use his infamous loss to Vladimir Nikitin at the Rio Olympics as a motivator for professional glory, much like other stars of the game.
In Brazil, Conlan lost his bantamweight quarter final to the Russian despite seemingly dominating the bout. His post-fight outrage would become international news.
Conlan believes that “what happened [in Rio] will be the driving force for me to become the greatest Irish fighter ever, because it will give me a kick, like it did for Roy Jones and Floyd Mayweather,”
“I can get over things really fast, and I can push on. I won’t forget it, but now I will focus on becoming a World champion and a star with Top Rank.”
Listing his aims, Conlan explained that “I think I have a great following already, and my goal is to be Ireland’s greatest ever fighter,”
“I believe I can be that. I think I’m the guy to do that. I will give the Irish fans something to shout about.”
“I think I can be a three-weight World champion.”
“I’m looking forward to the journey.”