Boxing

Michael Conlan vows to 'punch the head off' Leigh Wood

Boxer Michael Conlan at yesterday press conference in Werst Belfast ahead of friday nights fight in the Falls Park.Picture by Hugh Russell.
Pádraig Ó Meiscill

MICHAEL Conlan has vowed to “punch the head off” Leigh Wood when the pair meet in Nottingham next month.

The Falls Road fighter (16-0, 8 KOs) goes into the ring with Wood to challenge him for his WBA Featherweight world title on March 12 at the Motorpoint Arena. The two came face to face at press conference yesterday and, while Conlan says he has respect for the English boxer, any further pleasantries can wait until after the fight.

“I was elated for him [Wood, when he won the Featherweight belt], I wished Leigh good luck on the week of the fight and really wanted him to win,” said Conlan.

“I've got a lot of respect for him, he seems like a really good guy and I've heard loads of good things about him. I have the utmost respect for him as a person and fighter but f**k all that until after the fight. Let's get the fight done.

“I've been in with big punchers my whole life, I've had over 250 fights in the amateurs and sparred numerous rounds with big punchers – Oscar Valdez.

“I have an answer for anything Leigh does, I know what type of fighter he is, he punches hard yes, but he has slow feet and a curly head. I'll punch the head off him.”

Jamie Conlan, Michael's promoter, said he believed it was his brother's “destiny” to become world champion at pro level after achieving the same feat at amateur grade.

“Michael has always been tipped in Ireland to be one of the best boxers ever to come out of the country,” Jamie said.

“He's proved that as an amateur, he became the only male world champion from Ireland as an amateur. He's progressed nicely as a pro and, when the opportunity to come to Nottingham come up, and there was some bitching and moaning, we were very happy because we sat down and said that's what it's meant to be.

“To become world champion, you must go to the opponent's back yard and beat him in front of his own family, friends, that's how to state a legacy.

“The energy that's coming across from Ireland, the ferocity and hostility that's going to be in that arena. We're very excited and I'm very proud as a brother, very proud to be part of his crew and see him progress to get to this moment.

“This is the one, this is destiny.”

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