Michael Conlan To Challenge Luis Alberto Lopez For IBF World Title In Belfast, May 27th

Luis Alberto Lopez (27-2, 15 KOs) will make the first defence of his IBF World Featherweight title against Michael Conlan (18-1, 9 KOs) on May 27th in Belfast.

The impending world title fight has been openly discussed in the media by both teams, which has now got over the line for Conlan to have a second crack at world honours. This time in his hometown of Belfast.

Lopez captured the title last December, venturing to Josh Warrington’s home base of Leeds, England, to grind out a majority decision.

“The passionate Belfast fans will pack The SSE Arena hoping to lift their hero, Michael Conlan, to a world title. I also know that Luis Alberto Lopez thrives in enemy territory and will not relinquish his title without a tremendous fight,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

Lopez, from Mexicali, Mexico, navigated bumpy terrain to become a world champion. After early-career defeats to Abraham Montoya and Ruben Villa stunted his momentum, Lopez thrilled American fight fans with his July 2020 split decision victory over Andy Vences inside the MGM Grand Bubble. Fourteen months later, he dominated then-unbeaten junior lightweight prospect Gabriel Flores Jr. over 10 rounds. Lopez then moved down to featherweight and stopped another undefeated foe, Isaac Lowe, in seven rounds at London’s York Hall. After two stay-busy wins, he received his shot at the title, turning an expected triumphant Leeds homecoming into disappointment for the partisan fans.

Conlan turned pro in 2017 after a decorated Irish amateur career that included two Olympic berths, an Olympic bronze medal, and gold medals at the World Championships, European Championships, and Commonwealth Games. His double middle finger salute to the judges at the 2016 Rio Olympics turned him into a fighting folk hero, and as a pro, he has proven himself on the world stage. Last March, he nearly captured the WBA featherweight crown from Leigh Wood in Wood’s hometown of Nottingham, England. Conlan, ahead on all three scorecards, was knocked out in the 12th round of ESPN's Fight of the Year.

“This is a massive opportunity, fighting for the world title in Belfast is something I’ve always dreamed of and will be taking this opportunity with both hands.” Conlan said. “The SSE Arena will be buzzing, and I will do everything I can to bring a world title home. Credit to Lopez for coming to Belfast, but I am taking his title. He is not prepared for what is coming his way on May 27. Ireland will see a new champion crowned.”

Lopez-Conlan and undercard bouts will be broadcast live and exclusively on BT Sport in the UK and Ireland. While fans in the United States can watch the action on ESPN+.