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"It's a funny old game, innit?' Eddie Hearn see massive fights ahead if Michael Conlan shines

Michael Conlan can move on to great things if he beats Jordan Gill in style, says Eddie Hearn
Michael Conlan can move on to great things if he beats Jordan Gill in style, says Eddie Hearn Michael Conlan can move on to great things if he beats Jordan Gill in style, says Eddie Hearn

LOSING will be the end of the road for Michael Conlan, says promoter Eddie Hearn, but beating Jordan Gill, and beating him well, will be the start of a thrilling new chapter for the Belfast fighter.

Those are the stakes for Conlan, now fighting at super-featherweight, who will be walked to the ring by Celtic legend Scott Brown to top a genuinely stacked card at the SSE Arena on Saturday night.

“If Michael Conlan loses, his career is over,” said Matchroom boss Hearn matter-of-factly.

“But if he wins and wins well… It’s a funny old game, innit? You lose: Bye-bye. You win: Wow! What’s ahead – Joe Cordina? Josh Warrington? There are massive fights ahead. We went to Dublin in May and everyone left the arena (after Katie Taylor lost) with their head in their hands and then Michael got beat by Lopez the following week and it was like Irish boxing was finished.

“Now (after Taylor won and if Conlan wins) I’m looking at it, thinking: ‘We might not just come to Belfast and Dublin next year, we might go to Limerick (with Paddy Donovan) or Cork’.

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“Michael sells. He’s expected to beat Jordan Gill and he’s coming off a knockout defeat but we should have 7,000 in there on Saturday which is a big old crowd. You know he sells, you know the atmosphere will be fantastic and we have a lot of guys at 130lb (super-featherweight) that he can fight.

“If he was to make a statement he will walk straight into a massive fight. If Conlan went to the City Ground in Nottingham (for a Leigh Wood rematch) he might bring 8-9,000. If he went to Cardiff (to fight IBF champion Cordina) he’d take 5-6,000 or Joe might come here for a big outdoor show for the world title (possibly Croke Park).

“Michael has the benefit of being able to draw crowds wherever he goes and that will walk him into a big fight but if he loses it’s over. He’s got to look good, he can’t struggle and look like a faded fighter. It’s got to be a performance where everybody goes: ‘Wow!’ Then those other fights become very easy to make.”

"We have high hopes for Caoimhin Agyarko," says Eddie Hearn
"We have high hopes for Caoimhin Agyarko," says Eddie Hearn "We have high hopes for Caoimhin Agyarko," says Eddie Hearn

Sean McComb, who fights former sparring partner Sam Maxwell on the undercard, described the bill as the best ever staged in Belfast and, in terms of the overall quality, Hearn agreed.

“Top to bottom it is,” he said.

“There’s been bigger main events but when you have a big main event you can’t spend as much money on the undercard. Sometimes you have a good main event and a good co-main, here you’ve got four really good, interesting fights all of which could go either way.

“After last week there’s a great feeling and there’s a great opportunity for these guys to make a statement. Crocker is a prospect and if he wins, he goes on. If Tyrone wins, he gets a chance for a massive fight.

“Sean McComb needs to win and then Caoimhin, who we have high hopes for, is in a 50-50 but if he stops Troy Williamson, or makes a statement, he could land a big one.

“Caoimhin keeps talking about headlining in Belfast but you’ve got to have a statement performance to do that and Troy is the perfect opponent.

“If he can’t beat Troy Williamson then he’s not the fighter that we expect him to be or we hope he is and that why I love the fight because, if he’s not, he’ll get beat. If he’s not tough enough, if he’s not what we hope he is, he gets beat and that’s ok, we find out and then he rebuilds.”

Meanwhile, Hearn confirmed that Padraig McCrory remains on a list of four possible opponents to fight WBO super-middleweight champion Edgar Berlanga next year.

“He’s exciting, he can punch, he’d give it a go and he’s world-ranked by every governing body so he’s in the mix,” said Hearn.