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Name mistake – Michael Conlan ready to batter Baluta for Irish insult

Michael Conlan [14(8)-0] plans to make Ionut Baluta [14(3)-2(0)] rue the day he ever called himself the ‘Irish Slayer’.

Having defeated former world champion TJ Doheny and Rio Olympian David Oliver Joyce in his last two fights, the Romanian has gained a reputation as Irish Kryptonite.

Indeed, the 27-year-old has christened himself the ‘Irish Slayer’ and is confident he can make it a hat trick of Irish wins in London on Friday night.

Conlan isn’t worried and is predicting an Irish revenge knockout win.

“He is calling himself the ‘Irish Slayer’ so it’s one I can do for the country. ‘I’ll destroy him. I think he is the type of guy who will bring out the best in me.”

“He did his talking [in the build up] but It’s different when your face to face with someone. The fact he called himself the ‘Irish Slayer’ and going on about beating to Irish guys in a row, that’s motivation enough for me.”

The World Amateur Championships gold medal winner goes into the clash full of confidence and promising a stoppage win.

The 29-year-old super-bantamweight does admit Baluta has ability and could be deemed a dangerous fight for most, but not for him.

“He’s a good fighter, very fast hands, fast feet, awkward, unorthodox, throws crazy punches,” said Conlan.

“But everything he can do, I can do 10 times better. I believe I’m the better fighter so I’m looking forward to going out there on Friday night and showing that.”

Top-ranked Top Rank fighter Conlan was hoping a victory over the WBO #9 would lead to a world title shot.

August had been put aside for a tilt at WBO super bantamweight titlist Stephen Fulton, but the American looks set for a unification clash with the winner of Luis Nery and Brandon Figueroa’s WBC world title fight in September.

The London 2012 Olympic medal winner is still confident he remains on track for a 2021 world title shot.

“Whether it’s the next one or the one after, I believe it will be this year. There’s loads of doors open to me at 122lbs.

“I don’t feel like I need to make a statement in any kind of way, but I just want to do it.

“My mandatory position after this fight will be solidified, so I’m not worried about how I do it. I want to go out and make a statement, hurt this guy and take him out.”

Speaking about the fight promoter of the York Hall-hosted BT Sport-broadcast fight, Frank Warren, said: “We’ve made a good, tough fight for Michael Conlan on Friday against Ionut Baluta. Mick’s on a bit of a roll at the moment and he’s on the verge of a world title so he can’t afford to slip up.”

“Baluta has got some good wins recently including TJ Doheny, who’s a former world champion, and David Oliver Joyce, who he stopped for the European title last time out. If all goes well, this is a fight I think Mick needs just to be absolutely sure of his level before a world title shot. I hope he can come through it and I’m confident he will show what he’s made of.”

“He’s got a really big following all over the world but especially in the States. There will be a lot of interested parties watching on this Friday night to make sure he gets that win.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com