Michael Conlan looks to 'dream fight' with Carl Frampton
MICHAEL CONLAN says he wants to surpass Carl Frampton’s achievement and become a three-weight world champion.
Conlan, who plans to make a spectacular professional debut at New York’s boxing Mecca Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s weekend next year, says meeting Frampton would be a “dream fight down the line” for him.
The Falls Road bantamweight, who signed as a pro with acclaimed US promoters Top Rank on Monday, says he’s “looking forward to the journey” after bowing out of amateur boxing following a scandalous decision loss to Russian Vladimir Nikitin in the bantamweight quarter-finals at the Rio Olympic Games.
“A dream fight for any Irish fighter would be to fight at Madison Square Garden on Paddy’s Day,” he said.
“The fact that I’m going to do that on my debut is special. I have known that Top Rank wanted me since what happened in the games, I have been their number one target and it’s great to be wanted by such a big promoter - they have a great track record. They are the best at taking people from amateurs and making them into world champions, so I know I’m in good hands and I’m looking forward to the journey with them.”
Conlan had no shortage of suitors. Al Haymon, Frank Warren, Oscar de la Hoya’s Goldenboy and Floyd Mayweather all wanted his signature: “I had a lot of offers on the table and great options,” he said.
“But the best one was definitely Top Rank because of what they do with fighters, so it was an easy decision to make. I’ll be fighting in Ireland once a year and the fact that Top Rank are doing that for me is special - they only do that for their top fighters.”
Given his experience and success as an amateur, the 2012 Olympic Games medallist, Commonwealth Games winner and WSB star is expected to cut a swathe through the pro ranks: “I’ll leave that up to my team,” he said.
“They have the best matchmakers in the business in Top Rank and they will know what way to move me and they’ll know that I’m a fighter who can be moved fast. They’ll be able to judge how it’s going and see what’s the best way to move me on.”
A fight with Frampton, world champion at super-bantam and featherweight, could certainly be on Conlan’s radar if his career goes according to plan: “Carl is a fantastic fighter and a two-weight world champion, something I’m going to try and emulate and go one step further - I want to be a three-weight world champion,” he said.
“It’s definitely something I want to do - Carl would be a dream fight down the line. He’s a fantastic fighter and I would love to fight him for a world title in Ireland.”
Like Frampton, Conlan will begin his career at super-bantam, but he sees a natural progression through featherweight and up to super-feather: “That’s the most realistic route and we’ll see how it works out,” he said.
“We’ll judge it fight-by-fight and see what way it works out. I’m going to base myself in LA, but I’ll be mostly fighting out of the east coast, with some fights in Vegas and definitely some fights at home. I’ve been in talks with Jason Quigley’s trainer Manuel Robles - I know how his gym is doing and he has great fighters around my weight division - Oscar Valdez and Jessie Magdaleno - so it’s perfect sparring.
“It’s the smart option for me to go out there.”