Michael Conlan fight: Irishman returns home to face Adeilson Dos Santos, what time, where to watch, stream, preview

The Irishman signed with Top Rank after the Rio Olympics and tonight fights in Belfast for the first time in years

Martin Hines
Saturday 30 June 2018 14:10 BST
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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

A highly competitive night of boxing takes place in Belfast tonight, headlined by an amateur star who is looking to continue his assault on professional boxing.

Michael Conlan has long been regarded as one of Ireland’s most prodigious boxing talents, and after an amateur career which included Commonwealth, European, Olympic and World Championship medals, the 26-year-old has easily won his first seven professional bouts.

While respected for his skills in the amateur ranks, Conlan reached worldwide fame at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games when he was controversially defeated by Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin. Conlan subsequently created one of the biggest stirs of the tournament when he raised his middle finger to the judges and gave a passionate interview where he criticised the legitimacy of AIBA.

The Irishman signed with Top Rank soon after, and tonight fights in Belfast for the first time in years. Brazilian Adeilson Dos Santos will be his opponent at the Odyssey Arena, and Dos Santos has only ever lost to good opposition throughout his six-year professional career.

This night isn’t about the Brazilian however, instead it’s a homecoming for an emerging star who has the backing of Irish boxing royalty in Carl Frampton, plus a legion of fans who are selling out an arena for just his eighth paid bout.

"I put a lot of pressure on myself and I think I could have performed better in a lot of my fights," Conlan told BBC Sport, but believes that he has settled in to the professional game well.

"I am very comfortable. I am on the right track at the right time."

Boxing in Belfast has an outstanding lineage, but the modern-day crop may be the best of them all. With Carl Frampton and Paddy Barnes fighting at Windsor Park in August, Conlan knows that a couple more excellent performances will see him with the chance of world title glory, and potential stadium sellouts.

He may not ‘change the face of boxing’ as promoter Bob Arum predicted he would last year, but boxing always needs athletes who are honest and dedicated. It’s all good having a big mouth, but swagger mixed with effort can make a boxer untouchable on their day, and Conlan seems to share a similar mindset.

He’ll also be sharing a bill tonight with several intriguing fights, including an excellent super lightweight showdown between Jack Catterall and Tyrone McKenna. Both men are undefeated, but Catterall has beaten by far the best opponents of the two and is on the cusp of a potential world title shot.

Michael Conlan is one of Ireland’s most prodigious boxing talents
Michael Conlan is one of Ireland’s most prodigious boxing talents (Getty)

McKenna is quietly confident however and has a significant height and reach advantage over his English opponent, plus the support of the local crowd. On his day, Catterall is a machine who can outgun and outthink his opponents at will, but he’ll need to be near his best to stop the game McKenna.

Elsewhere, Jono Carroll and Declan Geraghty meet in a super featherweight grudge match, the undefeated pair of Johnny Coyle and Lewis Benson battle as do Tyrone McCullagh and Joe Ham who are competing for the vacant Celtic super bantamweight title.

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