Michael Conlan moves on from Olympic heartbreak with victory on professional debut
Ireland's Michael Conlan had a St Patrick's Day to remember as he beat Tim Ibarra on his professional debut at Madison Square Garden.
The Belfast super-bantamweight stopped Ibarra in the third round of six in front of over 5,000 Irish fans in New York as he moved on from his Olympic heartbreak, where he insisted he had been cheated out of a gold medal at Rio 2016 by some poor scoring.
Conlan, who was joined on his walk to the ring by UFC fighter Conor McGregor, was in no mood to leave this one up to the judges and forced referee Benjy Esteves Jr to step in when a powerful right hand left his American opponent on the ropes.
The 25-year-old has been tipped for the top, with his US-based promoters Top Rank booking out the MSG for the next five years, and Conlan was only too happy to build up the hype.
"I am main event at Madison Square Garden from the get go. Name me one other fighter who's done that? I don't know any," he told the Mirror.
"It is special and we will take over. I will be 100 per cent bigger than him (Frampton). It's not just a feeling, I know that I will. He's done a lot but I know that I will be better.
"I just need to keep winning. I want to move at a decent pace and hopefully by the end of year two of my pro career I am world champion or at least in contention."