Boxing

Michael Conlan happy to go six rounds in fifth pro victory

Michael Conlan says he is "100 per cent" confident he'll headline a Belfast bill in June next year

BELFAST featherweight Michael Conlan believes that his first pro fight to go the distance will help him in longer bouts in the future.

The Falls Road fighter defeated Argentina’s Luis Fernando Molina over six rounds on the under-card of Vasyl Lomachenko’s world super-featherweight title win against Guillermo Rigondeaux, boosting his pro record to 5-0 following a dominant points victory at New York’s Madison Square Garden Theater.

“I’m happy enough and I was happy to get the rounds,” said Conlan. “I thought I was going to get him out of there, but it wasn’t really unfortunate because I want to move up to eight rounds next time, so it was good to get the six in.

“I thought it was a nice and clean performance, I didn’t really take any shots - it was probably more like my style of fighting, on the back foot and slick boxing. I’m happy enough and looking forward to the next one."

Returning to the scene of his paid debut last March, the 26-year-old Irishman recorded a 60-54 shut-out on all three judges’ cards over 29-year-old Buenos Aires native Molina.

Delivering an impressive display of boxing skills, former world amateur champion Conlan switched from orthodox to southpaw with ease and looked comfortable throughout his first paid bout to last six rounds.

“Sometimes I think I’m a better southpaw than orthodox!," he said. "But I showed that I can switch it up and I can confuse opponents, so I think I did that.

“I felt comfortable. I just needed to make sure I was getting ahead and I didn’t take any punishment or any shots that I shouldn’t be taking.

“It’s all a learning process, at the end of the day, and I need to keep learning to progress as a professional fighter. That’s six rounds in the bank now and we can move up to eight next and look forward to a big night on St Patrick’s night next year.”

The Irishman - a two-time Olympian - revealed after the bout that his left hand was sore following his victory, but insisted that it would not affect his training plans.

“It was just a bit of bruising around the knuckles,” said Conlan. “It’s no problem. The guy had a tough head! I hurt him a few times, but he survived and fair play to him,” continued the Belfast native, who will return to Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s weekend in 2018.

“I’ll have three weeks off [over Christmas] maybe because I’ve been in camp all year and it’s been a fast, hard year,” said Conlan. “Five wins, four KOs - I’d have liked if it was five KOs, but unfortunately not! I’m happy anyway and looking forward to a big 2018”.

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