Michael Conlan on his stipulation to fight in Ireland annually

Belfast boxer speaks to Off The Ball as his pro debut approaches

BY Raf Diallo 20:30 Thursday 9 March 2017, 20:30 9 Mar 2017

Image: ©INPHO/Emily Harney 

Michael Conlan is looking forward for annual fights on Irish soil.

The Olympic medalist is a week away from his pro debut on St Patrick's Day at Madison Square Garden, New York against Tim Ibarra.

Speaking to Off The Ball from the United States as the fight closes in, Conlan said he will have a packed schedule for the first year of his pro career, with six to eight fights envisaged.

"We'll be based here on the West Coast - training, sparring, doing all that stuff - and then most of our fights will be East Coast and worldwide. Vegas is somewhere definitely we'll box; Chicago, Boston, Belfast, Dublin. We'll be hitting all Irish kind of places," he said.

"But when there's big events - just say [Manny] Pacquiao was fighting in Macau, China - we could be fighting there. Or if Pacquiao's fighting in Vegas, we'd be fighting on that undercard. But mainly East Coast.

"And I have to make my life out here now. It's now my home. I want to live somewhere I'm going to be happy. I feel if I was just to do training camps here, I'd be away from my family and then go home. It would be impossible because I'd be very, very lonely."  

He also added that his decision to sign for Bob Arum's Top Rank promotions had one condition.

"In my contract, if I was going to America, I wanted to make sure that I was fighting in Ireland at least once a year and that's definitely going to happen. That's written into the contract so that has to happen," said Conlan, and spoke of fighting at Madison Square Gardens every St Patrick's Day until the end of his career.

The Belfast fighter is in relaxed mood as the fight closes in.

"I'm a week out now, feeling great. I've done my media work out yesterday and all the hard work's done, sparring done and all the really gruelling stuff is done. So it's just basically cutting the weight now and getting that last bit of fat off my body," said Conlan, revealing that he is only seven pounds over which will be straight-forward to drop before the weigh-in. 

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