‘Walk Away’ – Michael Conlan tells TJ Doheny they have a backup plan

Michael Conlan [15(8)-0] has revealed they have a backup plan in case TJ Doheny [22(16)-2(0)] does walk away from the biggest all-Irish fight in 40 years.

The World Amateur Championship gold medal winner and former IBF super bantamweight champion of the world are set to trade leather at the Falls Park and on the Feile on Friday night.

However, the Portlaoise native has expressed upset that the fight is for the WBA Interim featherweight title and a 124lbs weight limit has been set.

‘The Power’ argues a 122lbs super bantamweight limit had been agreed and he would have approached camp differently if he knew otherwise.

The 34-year-old also said he wants a return to the top of the super bantamweight pile and was targeting the winner of the September 11 fight unification fight between Stephen Fulton and Luis Nery, so the WBA interim world title was of little use to him.

Top Rank star Conlan is adamant a 124lbs catchweight has been agreed and has accused Doheny of ‘crying’ whilst questioning his ‘balls’.

The world title hopeful suggested the former world champion is looking for excuses and warned Team Conlan and Top Rank have fighters on standby if Doheny takes unlikely action and pulls out of the fight.

“The fight was at 124 and agreed at 124 even if he says different, so I said I would take that — it’s an interim title,” Conlan insisted at the Balmoral Hotel yesterday.

“He’s been crying all week about this saying he wouldn’t fight at 126 and he wanted 122, but he agreed to 124 the other week. Then he said he didn’t want to do 12 rounds and had only trained for 10. If he wants to walk away from it that’s no problem as we have A, B and C on standby.”

The winner of the interim title should take a significant step toward a possible WBA featherweight world title fight. The regular strap is currently held by Leigh Wood, who upset Xu Can last Saturday, while Leo Santa Cruz is ‘super champion’.

However, even if Conlan, 29, wins the strap he will look to return to super bantamweight where he is #1 with the WBO and could fight for two straps if he gets the winner of Fulton Nery.

“My aspirations are still at 122, that’s not changing and I’ll still be aiming to go where I’m going, but these interim belts open other opportunities so I said no problem. If you can add a bit more carrot to the cake then it’s nice.”

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 sport for a living for 19 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

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