The Belfast featherweight returns to The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Saturday March 17th, his second succssive St Patrick’s Day appearance at the Felt Forum.
Conlan [5(4)-0] will face Hungarian David Berna [15(14)-2(2)] in an eight-round contest in New York, his first time over the distance.
Hungarian amateur flyweight champion in 2008, Berna was a fixture on that scene from then, trading leather with numerous familiar names who would go on to become well-travelled journeymen – including a first round stoppage loss to Laszlo Horvath, who would lose to Eric Donovan in the ‘Celtic Clash 2’ headliner in Dublin last year
Berna, turned pro in September 2016 and, as is the process for fighters looking to become journeymen, quickly racked up an attractive record, scoring 12 knockout wins in 10 months in low-profile gym fights across Slovakia and Hungary.
The Magyar was then brought in as a late replacement for US-based Liberian contender Toka Kahn Clary and was stopped in the second round of their WBA-NABA title fight. Two months later he was stopped in the first round by Ukrainian Oleg Malynovskyi in a WBO European title fight, and has since padded his record further with two more gym wins.
While it may look so on paper, Berna is not particularly a step up for Conlan. However, it admittedly is the Belfast 26-year-old’s first fight under new coach Adam Booth and, should he progress to tougher tests and longer fights afterward, there can’t be too many complaints here.
Conlan fought five times in his debut year. The Falls Road boxer took on State Golden Gloves champions Tim Ibarra and Kenny Guzman, dreadful Mexican spoiler Alfredo Chanez, Australian title challenger Jarrett Owen, and rugged Argentinian Luis Molina – the only boxer to take him the distance, something which Berna is not expected to do.
The card in Manhattan is headlined by a WBC light welterweight title fight between Jose Ramirez and Amir Imam and also features a light heavyweight clash between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Mehdi Amar, as well as the return of Felix Verdejo.