Boxing

Michael Conlan says Carl Frampton rumble would be "bad for the city"

Michael Conlan made an impressive professional debut as he stopped Tim Ibarra inside three rounds at Madison Square Garden
Andy Watters

EARLY in his professional career, Michael Conlan viewed Carl Frampton as his “dream fight” but now the emerging super-bantamweight contender says the all-Belfast clash would be “bad for the city”.

Conlan, from the Falls Road, wants the future to be about “everybody coming together” and so he has no interest in slugging it out with two-weight world champion Frampton who comes from Tigers Bay on the other side of the political divide.

“Not any more,” said Conlan, when asked if he viewed Frampton as a possible future opponent.

“I’ve become good friends with Frampton and I really get on with him. If that fight ever did happen I feel that it would probably be bad for the city because of the divide and it’s not about that, it’s about bringing people together now.

“That’s what the future is about – everybody coming together, so I feel that would be the wrong fight.”

There’s no doubt that Frampton would agree with Conlan’s mature outlook on a meeting many had seen as a natural progression for both fighters. Conlan (25) says his ambition is to carry on the torch for Belfast boxing after Frampton hangs up his gloves.

“I would like to see Carl win his next few fights and finish off his career on a high, hopefully become world champion again and then pass the baton on to me to take over Belfast boxing,” he said.

“I’d like to become the superstar and have the star power that Carl has and I feel that I’m on the right path to doing that. I have people to look up to like Carl and my brother Jamie and I can follow in their tracks and do what they’re doing and unite the whole of Belfast.”

Los Angeles-based Top Rank talent Conlan, Ireland’s only world amateur champion, has raced to 4-0 in the pro ranks since he made his debut at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day. He returns to New York’s boxing Mecca on December 9 when he takes on Luis Fernando Molina (7-3-1).

“I haven’t fought a guy with a losing record yet,” said Conlan, who trains at the Rock Gym in LA under the watchful eye of Manny Robles.

“For my first two fights they (his opponents) were 4-4, my third fight the guy had a winning record, the next fight the guy was unbeaten and now Molina has never been stopped and he has a winning record.

“He’s meant to be someone who’s really tough, he’s meant to be someone who is going to get me round. They’ve all been guys who have been meant to test me in some shape or form but the first three guys just did not want to know, the last guy wanted to know and that’s what I need, I need guys who want to try.”

Meanwhile, Frampton – now part of the MTK stable - makes his return to the ring on November 18 at the SSE Arena against Horacio Garcia, headlining a bill that includes a long-awaited world title shot for Conlan’s older brother Jamie against IBF super-flyweight champion Jerwin Ancajas.

Frampton is looking forward to a Windsor Park spectacular next summer and, while Jamie could feature on that bill, Michael has ruled it out as the venue for his Belfast homecoming.

“I’ll not be on at Windsor,” he said.

“I’ll have my own homecoming. Top Rank don’t want to do it any other way, they don’t want me on anybody’s undercard.”

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