Michael Conlan to turn his attention to home debut after New York bout

Michael Conlan hits the pads with coach Abel Sanchez
Andy Watters

Boxing: Michael Conlan v Luis Fernando Molina (tomorrow, 2am, live on Boxnation)

MICHAEL Conlan has his sights set on a home debut in June next year, but before he can start planning for that he has to take care of business in New York tonight.

Conlan, now 4-0 with four early wins, takes on Argentine wannabe Luis Fernando Molina at Madison Square Garden Theatre on the undercard of the Vasyl Lomachenko versus Guillermo Rigondeaux WBO super-featherweight title super-fight.

Now boxing at featherweight, Conlan was the headline act when he made his pro debut at ‘The Garden’ back in March and he is determined to turn heads as part of the supporting cast tonight as the two double Olympic gold-medalists clash.

“I’m here on the same card as two of the greatest pound-for-pound amateurs ever - on their undercard in the same venue I sold out on my debut - but I know there’s reason for having me on this bill because Top Rank know I can sell it,” he said.

“It’s great to be on it, but I know why I’m on it – because I can sell seats! I know I have to impress when I’m fighting on such a big stage and when Top Rank are backing me to do the business. I’ll win and I’ll win in style on Saturday.”

Molina (7-3-1) is a come-forward fighter who has never been stopped. He will come to win tonight but – as Carl Frampton found out on his comeback last month – Conlan cannot afford to take him for granted. The London Olympic Games medallist feels he is ready to deliver another knockout against the 29-year-old.

“I’m feeling good and I’m feeling strong,” said Conlan.

“I’m making it easy this time, so it’s all good. I’ve learnt from my last few camps and I’ve had no problems at all this time around.

“I just can’t wait to get in the ring and deliver on the night. It’s a great shop window with ESPN showing my fight live ahead of the main event in the States, so I’m out to make a statement.”

Legendary Top Rank promoter Bob Arum confirmed plans to have Conlan return to boxing's most famous fight venue on St Patrick’s Day next year.

“We’re big fans of Mick,” he said.

“He’s been coming along terrifically and he’s going to be a co-feature at Madison Square Garden this weekend, but we’re bringing him back for St Patrick’s Day next year on another big card.

“He’s only going to get better and he’s a future star of boxing. I expect a big performance from him this weekend.”

So far in his pro career Conlan has been keen to blast opponents out but he has been working on “punching long” with coach Abel Sanchez in the build-up to tonight’s fight. We could see him look to be more patient, keep the distance between him and Molina and pick him off as he presses forward. Look forward to another Conlan win and perhaps the most impressive so far.

Meanwhile, future Carl Frampton foe Lee Selby defends his IBF world featherweight title against unbeaten Eduardo Ramirez tonight at the Copperbox Arena in London.

On the same bill, James DeGale defends his IBF world super middleweight title against challenger Caleb Truax after 11 months out through injury.

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