Michael Conlan’s second recent attempt at a world title ended in misery. Stories have circulated regarding the Irishman’s future on whether he will continue with his professional career since. Him and his team have remained consistent in saying he will return.
The dust has settled on the crushing 5th round defeat to Mexico’s Luis Alberto Lopez in his native Belfast two months ago. Conlan spoke exclusively to ProBox TV to give an update on his impending return.
“I’m good, I’m looking forward to getting back to work properly.” Conlan answered as to how he was since his last fight. “I’m just enjoying myself, enjoying the summer at the minute. It won’t be too long until I get back in the gym, I’ll be back out December time. I am happy at the moment, I know where I went wrong against Lopez, It wasn’t me in there that night. That’s what happens in big fights. I’m looking forward to coming back.”
Belfast is a city in love with boxing. However, it is currently without a world champion after a history of magnificent fighters. Conlan is expected to fill that void by his people, a pressure you would imagine weighs heavy on any fighter.
“I wouldn’t even say it is a pressure from the crowd or the atmosphere that affects me.” Conlan said. “Maybe the exception [adds pressure], because I’ve had expectations on me my whole career. I’ve always had this expectation on myself while everyone is expecting me to do big things too. I just go with the flow. I just have to go in there and do what I got to do, try and perform.
“On May 27th, for the first time in my life, I didn’t turn up at the office. I paid the ultimate price, I lost! I could have got back up when I got knocked down, if you watch the replay, I got up. But Adam [Booth] threw in the towel, which I think was the correct decision. It wasn’t me in there, anyone who knows me knew I wasn’t doing the things I should have been doing. Which is understandable, I’m happy with how my corner dealt with it.”
Conlan (18-2, 9 KOs) has fought on home soil in Belfast for his last three fights. The decorated former Irish amateur discussed where his next fight may land.
“It does look like I will be back in December time.” Conlan explained. “Most likely in Belfast, but nothing is set in stone. I have plenty of options, I could fight anywhere in the world really. I could fight in America, fight in New York, fight in the UK or fight in Ireland. We haven’t made any decisions yet on opponents or even an exact date. But it does look like December.
“In the immediate aftermath [of the Lopez fight] I did have thoughts of ‘fuck this!’ I’ve had two world title fights, the first one I came so close, and then the second one I didn’t turn up. When the dust settled I was thinking ‘fucking right, I am ready to go again.’ I need to go out and set out on what I intended to do, I can’t leave it like that.”
It is a family affair at Team Conlan. Jamie Conlan takes the reins as manager while the pair also grow promotional outfit Conlan Boxing.
“He’s honest with me.” Conlan said of his brother. “If he told me I couldn’t be a world champion, I would probably pack it in. That’s what I need around me, people who tell the truth. This game is very unforgiving, in boxing if you don’t have the right team around you it can be very difficult. I have so much admiration for him. I remember how emotional I was when he used to box. He was in some real wars, it was very very tough to watch. For him watching me and him also us promoting the shows together, he has a lot of pressure to make sure we sell these shows and make fights happen. The running order and everything, because we do the full works ourselves. It is very tough and very emotionally draining for him. He’s somebody I have always looked up to and somebody I always wanted to be. It makes me happy, him being my manager, I trust him 100 percent, he was a fighter himself. Also being in business with somebody like that is very good for me, trust is the main thing, he never tells me lies. I do take a step back when I am boxing and do nothing, but I am very involved otherwise.”