Boxing

Jamie Conlan: Why I turned down chance to box on brother Michael's big New York bill

Jamie Conlan will headline a packed bill at the Titanic Exhibition Centre this weekend. Picture by PA
Neil Loughran

JAMIE Conlan may have turned down the chance to fight on brother Michael’s St Patrick’s Day big night in New York, but ‘The Mexican’ admits he can’t wait until the day they box on the same bill.

Michael Conlan will make his professional debut at Madison Square Garden on March 17, topping the bill with a six-rounder as he begins his American odyssey after signing with Top Rank.

Older sibling Jamie revealed that he could have had a slot on the undercard, but preferred to watch Michael make his bow on what will be a momentous night for a proud boxing family.

“He [Michael] asked Bob Arum and Todd duBoef and they said it was no problem, but I’d rather just be there to experience the whole atmosphere and be there as a spectator - as a brother,” said Jamie.

“I don’t want to be involved and have my own story, I want to be there and watch his story.

“I always said I’d put his career before my career any day of the week because when he was 13 or 14 and I worked in Shorts, I told people he was going to be the next big thing, so I always want to be there when he’s doing his thing.”

Jamie Conlan will be the headline act this weekend on a stacked bill at Belfast’s Titanic Exhibition Centre, although it appears unlikely to be a defence of his super-flyweight Commonwealth title against Julias Kisarawe after visa issues hit the experienced Tanzanian’s hopes.

If it isn’t Kisarawe, he will instead defend his WBO European title against an as yet unnamed opponent.

Provided he wins on Saturday, regardless of who he faces, big fights lie ahead for Conlan. Promoter Frank Warren has secured a final eliminator for a WBO world title shot next year, possibly against Mexico’s 33-2-0 Juan Hernandez.

And the 27-year-old hopes that fight can take place in front of his home fans, possibly on the same night Michael makes his Belfast homecoming.

“It would be amazing to have the final eliminator on his comeback fight to Belfast in the Odyssey. I’ve said to Matt [Macklin] and he’s on the same line.”

Another fight that could happen in 2017 is a rematch of his April brawl with Anthony Thompson, which was named fight of the year at the British Boxing Board of Control awards night.

The pair spoke at the awards, and Conlan says he would love the opportunity to do it all again.

“It’s a rematch I would love because I feel I could right a lot of wrongs,” he said.

“It was a crazy fight but I feel if I can get it again it will be completely different and a more sensible performance.”

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