'I could have done 10 rounds': Michael Conlan

The former Olympian scored a third-round stoppage in his professional debut last night.

'I could have done 10 rounds': Michael Conlan

©INPHO/Tom Hogan

Michael Conlan says he could have fought for '10 rounds', after stopping Tim Ibarra in the third round of his pro-debut last night at Madison Square Garden, New York.

Conlan looked comfortable throughout the bout and overcame some mild resistance to take a convincing victory.

And speaking after the fight, a delighted Conlan said he could have fought on for longer:

"I could have done 10 rounds there tonight. I've been doing a lot of rounds at the gym, I've been sparring world champions. I'm really fit at the minute."

"It was something that I'd never experienced before and even I fight for a world title, I have that world title atmosphere behind me."

"It wasn't that I was nervous, it was more that I wanted to impress. I wasn't nervous about my opponent, I was more nervous about myself. The atmosphere was crazy and there was a lot of expectations of me winning by a first round knock-out."

"Anybody who asked me, I told them (I'd win it) in the third round."

Conlan also admitted that he was not prepared for the volume of support he was going to receive when he came into the arena:

"I was saying, 'I've been at the Olympic Games.' At the London Olympics, I had 9,000 people cheering me on. But it was nothing like tonight. It was nothing like a rowdy crowd who's been out drinking all day for St Partick's Day, and ready to cheer on their fellow Irish man."

Conlan, who entered the arena bedecked in Leprechaun attire to commemorate the St Patrick's Day festivities alongside flag-bearer Conor McGregor, worked his way tentatively into the fight.

The former Irish Olympian landed some impressive shots against Ibarra over the early stages, and while some of the punches failed to make a connection, signs of a Conlan victory looked promising.

He gradually increased the intensity, and picked Ibarra apart with some devastating combination play. 

And with just over a minute remaining in the third round, the referee stepped in to spare Ibarra from any further damage.

Conlan's flagbearer Conor McGregor was among those to congratulate the Belfast fighter, after his strong start in the pro-ranks.

Commenting on McGregor's presence in his corner, Conlan said:

"To have Conor McGregor carrying out the flag (on my debut), who can say they have that? We have Niall Horan from One Direction here."