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Michael Conlan relishing his h...

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Michael Conlan relishing his homecoming and toughest test in the ring

Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

03:58 2 Aug 2019


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Michael Conlan believes that he can 'deal with the pressure' of the toughest test of his career so far on home turf.

The Belfast boy's homecoming sees him take on Argentina's Diego Alberto Ruiz for the WBO and WBA Inter-Continental titles at Feile an Phobail on the Falls Road on Saturday.

Conlan is relishing the chance to show how good he is to an expected sell-out 11,000 crowd.

"I’ve had a target on my back since the amateur days," said Conlan. "Even when I came into the professional ranks there were expectations on my shoulders. I know how to deal with the pressure.

"This is obviously different and something bigger than I could have ever imagined, but I just plan on going in there and enjoying it. When I get into the ring it’s all business.

"Over the last six or seven months everything has clicked. I’ve been in training for this fight since April, and I’ve learned so much. I believe this is a coming out party for me and it’s the best Michael Conlan you’ll see."

Trainer throws gauntlet down to Michael Conlan

The Saturday fight-night was originally supposed to be a rematch with Vladimir Nikitin who beat the Irish fighter in very controversial circumstances at the Rio Olympic.

The Russian was forced to withdraw after tearing his bicep but Conlan's trainer Adam Booth expects to see his boxer make serious advances in how he performs on the big stage.

"I want to see the progression and want to see what Michael does in the gym when he’s out in the spotlight," said Booth. "It’s all about the evolution of him as a fighter, and this is an event to match it.

"This event is extremely popular, and he’s fighting a guy who is better than anyone he’s boxed so far in his career. This is a special event, and my job is to ensure he does his job and that he performs how he’s supposed to perform."

Chief support on the night will be Dublin middleweight Luke Keeler facing 29-year-old American Luis Arias, while home favourite Paddy Gallagher also takes on British welterweight champion Chris Jenkins for the vacant Commonwealth title.

Double Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes will also be in action as he takes on Tanzanian John Chuwa.

The live broadcast on the night starts from 8pm on BT Sport 1.

Conlan v Ruiz: Full undercard

Luke Keeler v Luis Arias – Middleweight

Paddy Gallagher v Chris Jenkins – Welterweight

Sean McComb v Renald Garrido – Super Lightweight

Padraig McCrory v Steve Collins Jr – Super Middleweight

Alfredo Meli v Araik Marutjan – Middleweight

Paddy Barnes v John Chuwa – Flyweight

Damien Sullivan v TBA – Cruiserweight

Callum Bradley v Jose Hernandez – Super Featherweight

Sean Gerard Duffy v Naheem Chaudhry – Lightweight

Dennis McCann v Patrik Bartos – Bantamweight

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