Michael Conlan: I have the upmost respect for TJ Doheny, but I’ve got to beat him

Michael Conlan (left) in motion vs. Ionut Baluta. Picture courtesy of Queenberry Promotions

Vastly well-liked Irish junior featherweight Michael Conlan will face battle-hardened former titleholder TJ Doheny in a scheduled 12-round contest on the Falls Park in Belfast, Northern Eire on Friday.

Conlan (15-0, 8 knockouts) is absolutely conscious of his compatriot’s high quality and is aware of that victory is crucial if he’s to safe a world title alternative of his personal.

“It’s a really robust struggle, there’s little doubt about that,” Conlan informed The Ring. “TJ’s a improbable former world champion. He has coronary heart, toughness, superb energy, he’s an excellent counterpuncher, he’s confirmed all of it within the professional sport.

“He’s coming to get again to the highest and I’m the quickest and finest route for him to try this. For me, he’s the subsequent man on my path to being a world champion and I’ve obtained to beat him. I’m very assured, however I do know I do know this can be a very, very onerous struggle.”

The 29-year-old former newbie standout is worked up on the prospect of combating at dwelling in entrance of roughly 8,000 followers.

“That is the primary large present in Belfast with followers [since the pandemic], it’s large,” stated Conlan, who’s skilled by Adam Sales space in Surrey, England. “It’s our first time [fighting] in opposition to one other Irishman – delight of the nation on the road. I’ve seen individuals say it’s the most important all-Irish struggle for a very long time. I’m actually enthusiastic about. I’m all about creating historical past.

“I’ve obtained enterprise in opposition to a really, very robust competitor, somebody who’s coming to take my head off and get again to the highest and I’m absolutely ready for that. I do know I’ve a solution for something he does. I’ll be higher in each division.”

Each fighters have been examined by Ionut Baluta in latest fights. In April, the gangly Romanian misplaced a slim 12-round majority choice to Conlan and he claimed an eight-round factors win over Doheny in March 2020.

“I don’t take something from TJ’s final struggle in opposition to Baluta,” stated Conlan. “He went into it overconfident – lack of preparation – and he slipped up. I can’t learn an excessive amount of into that.

“That is his final hurrah, and I’ve the upmost respect for him, however I’ve obtained to beat him.”

Whereas Conlan acquired some criticism for his personal efficiency in opposition to Baluta, he felt it was unwarranted.

“I feel it was the proper struggle on the good time,” he stated. “Folks can criticize all they need, however I believed it was a clear win. I believed the scorecards had been a bit silly. I didn’t perceive the scorecards as a result of if you regarded on the stats afterwards, he solely landed 10-percent of his photographs. I believed I received eight rounds to 4, 9 rounds to a few.”

All going effectively in opposition to Doheny, Conlan expects to maneuver on to the winner of the Stephen Fulton-Brandon Figueroa unification struggle which is because of happen on September 11.

“The winner can be subsequent whether or not it’s winter or St. Patrick’s Day, it doesn’t matter,” Conlan stated. “I’ll have my eye on [Fulton-Figueroa], however I’ve obtained to maintain my eyes absolutely on TJ first as a result of he’s a really robust competitor.”

Doheny (22-2, 16 KOs) turned skilled in 2012. The Australian-based Irishman got here up the onerous approach, profitable his first 19 outings earlier than unseating Ryosuke Iwasa (UD 12) to develop into the IBF 122-pound titlist in August 2018. He stopped Ryohei Takahashi (TKO 11) in his first protection earlier than shedding to then-WBA titleholder Daniel Roman (MD 12) in a thrill-a-minute unification. After profitable a comeback struggle, Doheny surprisingly misplaced to Baluta.

Conlan vs. Doheny, plus undercard motion, can be broadcast on ESPN+.


Questions and/or feedback will be despatched to Anson at [email protected] and you may comply with him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright


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