The Belfast featherweight returns to the famous Felt Forum on Sunday March 17th and it has been confirmed that he will face Ruben Garcia Hernandez [24(10)-3(1)-2] over ten rounds in the Top Rank St Patrick’s Day bill-topper.
27-year-old Conlan had been set to face Laotian-American Duarn Vue [14(4)-1(0)-2] but the game slugger failed a medical due to an eye issue.
And so, in steps Cancun puncher Hernandez whose most notable fight was a points loss to Nonito Donaire in September 2017.
The WBC Silver featherweight title was on the line that night in Texas and Hernandez would pick up a belt with the organisation last August when he claimed a split-decision win over Jose Estrella to claim the ‘Latino’ title.
Estrella, of course, was beaten by Conlan’s older brother and manager, Jamie, on the Frampton-Martinez II undercard at the Titanic Quarter in 2014.
Hernandez, who has also held the WBC Caribbean title, has also been defeated by former world champion Randy Caballero and the then-unbeaten Rafael Rivera while, last time out, he was held to a dubious draw in Suriname by Marlembron Acuna.
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‘El Tibio’ is perhaps not as dangerous a foe as Vue but would look to be solid and offers the interesting Donaire yardstick.
Conlan will be returning to the ring following his maiden title victory last month where he outpointed Jason Cunningham to pick up the WBO Inter-Continental rankings belt in what was also his first ten-round contest.
This belt will assumedly be on the line in New York as the Olympic bronze medallist looks to build up towards the brown belt currently held by former gym-mate and potential Carl Frampton foe, Óscar Valdez
Having fought five times in both 2017 and 2018, including two MSG St Patrick’s Day headline slots, Conlan is expected to now move up through the ranks as the title fights continue to come – with a clash with Vladimir Nikitin looking increasingly likely for Belfast this summer.
The Falls Road fighter said that “I’m excited and honoured to fight at my home away from home, The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, on St. Patrick’s Day for the third consecutive year.”
“The fans in New York City have been incredibly supportive of my professional career, and I look forward to putting on a show for them, in addition to my great fans from Ireland who will be coming over for the party in Manhattan.”
“Thanks very much to my team and Top Rank for this tremendous opportunity. I’ll be well prepared for victory to kick off a huge year for me in 2019.”
The ESPN+-broadcast card in seven-and-a-half weeks’ time is co-headlined by a featherweight clash between Christopher Diaz and Jessie Magdaleno and also features a welterweight scrap between Luis Collazo and Samuel Vargas as well as appearances for former super bantam champ Jonathan Guzman, light welters Josue Vargas and John Bauza, lightweight Joseph Adorno, and Conlan rival Nikitin.