The Belfast super flyweight has been holed away in Glasgow preparing for his IBF title challenge against Jerwin Ancajas [27(18)-1(0)-1], and has taken it to the next level.
‘The Mexican’ has enjoyed top sparring with the likes of his brother Mick and former IBF super flyweight champion Rodrigo Guerrero (pictured) that proves to him that, despite his upcoming massive jump in level, he is able to mix it on the world stage.
A confident Conlan told Irish-Boxing.com that “I am walking in with that assurance that I have done everything that needs to be done. You know you have given yourself the best chance possible to become a World Champion.”
“We brought in former World champions for sparring and I have sparred more rounds than I sparred together in the last three years. I feel great and I am in a great place mentally as well.”
It gives you that wee bit of confidence when you’re in sparring with World level opposition and holding your own, even doing better. Plus you’re doing that when your making weight and getting your second wind after a morning session of track and running.”
“Come fight night you’re fully rehydrated and fresh from not training in the morning it should be easier.”
The challenge facing Conlan should not be underestimated.
The 31 year old is a huge underdog against the reigning champ, who will be making his third title defence. Conlan knows that there is no room for error against the Filipino.
The Commonwealth champion outlined how “it’s not what he does that matters it’s what I do that matters. If I make a mistake he will punish me for it, but if I don’t make a mistake I won’t be exploited.”
“I know the game plan we have in place, one we have been working on for eight weeks, it’s good and it’s about me now going out and carrying it out.”
While it was not necessarily derogative, Team Ancajas have spent much of the build-up describing Conlan as a brawler.
The multiple Fight of the Year winner understands this, but has pledged to show a different side tomorrow night
“They have been saying it the whole time [that he is brawler], but that’s something they have the right to do because I haven’t shown the skills,” admitted Conlan.
“I have shown in the gym, I have shown it to people close to me, but this is the kind of night that I will be able to show it to the world.”
Yesterday’s press conference was a largely cordial affair – which is not to say Conlan didn’t have ammunition.
The Falls Road man has seen Ancajas up close and personal during the Pacquiao-Horn fight week – on which ‘Pretty Boy’ and Mick Conlan both appeared. Flaws have been noted, however we will have to wait until tomorrow to see if the elder Conlan exploits them
The MTK fighter recalled how “he had the same training scheduled as Michael in Australia so I could watch him then. I have seen a few triggers from that week and this week, things to notice, but I will keep them to myself. He is big like me so I know what he has to go through to make the weight.”
“It’s never been my way to trash talk. It doesn’t make a difference. There is no nice way to put it we are going to in and try and take each others head off on Saturday. If you shout at me now what difference will it make? We are going to go in and put it all on the line regardless. I am not one for slabbering and I won’t start now.”
Previously overshadowed, not that he would mind, by his younger brother Mick, Conlan is now moving to the forefront of Belfast boxing – which itself is going through a purple patch of success.
Ryan Burnett became a unified world champion last month, while Carl Frampton remains one of the biggest names in the sport and Conlan believes that “this is the golden age of Belfast boxing in general.”
“If you look at the strength and depth of this card and then the card four weeks ago it proves things in Belfast are fantastic. It’s unheard of unless it’s Vegas or New York City that you have back to back World title cards just a four weeks apart.”
“You have two World title fights and the Fighter of the Year appearing four weeks apart and at the same venue. It is unheard of and it proves Belfast boxing is up there with Vegas. We have the talent to keep it going.”