STAGE TWO – Mick Conlan ready to leave low-level opposition behind


Mick Conlan [7(5)-0] will leave the prospect stage of his career this weekend.

The Belfast featherweight tops a homecoming bill at the SSE Odyssey Arena on Saturday night, facing recent world title challenger Adeilson Dos Santos [19(15)-4(2)] in an eight-round context.

A pro now for 15 months, Conlan has been building on big Top Rank cards. There have been teak-tough Latinos such as Ibon Larrinaga and Luis Molina, overly defensive spoilers such as Tim Ibarra, Alfredo Chanez, and Jarrett Owen, and somewhat reckless foes that have been quickly blasted out in Kenny Guzman and David Berna

In Dos Santos, Conlan is presented with something different.

The Brazilian challenged for the WBO super bantamweight title last year, being blasted out in less than two rounds by Conlan’s former gym-mate Jessie Magdaleno. Aside from this there have been points defeats to Kid Galahad (wide) and Russian starlet Evgeny Smirnov (close) and a knockout loss to Brazilian rival Fabian Orozco. These losses cheqeur a record which also features a number of big wins in South America for rankings titles and plenty of knockouts.

Conlan, of course, is still expected to win well – although his 1/100 odds with the bookmakers seem excessive.

Regardless, it remains a test, and Conlan admits that “it’s a considerable step up for me, certainly.”

The 26-year-old, however, wouldn’t have it any other way, especially in his home city.

The Falls feather noted how “I know Belfast is a hugely knowledgeable boxing crowd and there was no way I wanted an easy option. I’d have been hounded for it.”

“I hear Dos Santos is big, aggressive and will come forward. It’s clear he can punch and he’s been in with some high-class opposition. He comes to win but I’ve worked too hard to let him.”

“I need this fight anyway because there’s no point in fighting lower-level opposition any more. It’s all part of a learning curve and a journey to the top. Dos Santos is significant.”

While he knows it’s a step up, Conlan purposely does not know much of Dos Santos.

The Olympic bronze medalist leaves this homework up to new coach Adam Booth, with whom he enters into his third fight.

The relationship with the London trainer is flourishing and Conlan explained how “If I’m honest, I don’t watch much footage of my opponents. I let my coach Adam Booth go over the tactics, tell me what we need to do and I go and put the plan into action.”

“I trust Adam completely. We struck up a bond quickly and our work together so far has been great. I have real faith in him knowing what he’s doing and that’s where the trust comes from.”

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie