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‘Repping’ for mental health – Conlan hoping to provide a lockdown boost

Michael Conlan [13(7)-0] will be ‘repping’ for mental health when he returns to the ring next week.

The Belfast fighter feels he excelled during lockdown and reignited his drive, but is aware many struggled throughout the worst part of the pandemic.

With that in mind he is hopeful the fact both he and Carl Frampton return to the ring in London on August 15 can have a positive influence on Belfast in particular.

The super bantamweight world title hopeful feels a big fight night will help restore a sense of normality and provide something for those struggling to look forward to.

“To see two of Belfast’s best going out there and putting on a show on for the city during all this craziness and showing that we still have that fighting spirit and we’re ready to battle at any time is good because obviously with the mental health side of things, you gotta be ready to battle at any time because it can just spring on you at any time,” Conlan told Boxingscene.

“So to see guys doing their thing through all this stuff and putting that work in, I think a lot of people will be happy to see it and it gives them something to look forward to,” he added before revealing he will wear the mental health badge on his shorts come fight night.

“On fight night, I’ll be repping the mental health badge on my shorts. It’s something very close to me and I know I excelled in the lockdown, but I know for a lot of people, this pandemic would have had a detrimental effect on them. The thought of getting locked up and stuck home with nobody around could be very, very hard for a lot of people, so hopefully now that things have eased up and people can maybe get out and watch the fights and get back to normal, hopefully this fight can do that for a lot of people.”

Conlan takes on former European champion and recent world title challenger Sofiane Takoucht [35(7)-4(1)-1] at BT Sport Studio’s on a card that also includes Frampton and Paddy Donovan.

It’s the Top Rank fighter’s toughest fight to date, but one he believes he can win inside the distance.

“This is gonna be a tough fight,” said Conlan. “On paper, yes, I should beat him and Josh Warrington stopped him, but Josh Warrington isn’t the same fighter as me. He’s an aggressive fighter and I’m not that kind of aggressive guy who goes in there and tries to take people’s head off from the first bell, although I do believe I will stop this guy.”

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