Michael Conlan is on a scouting mission to assess two of the world’s best fighters as he prepares for his undercard date in support of the big super-featherweight showdown between Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux in New York this weekend.
Belfast’s Conlan (4-0, 4KOs) features on the support bill of a much-anticipated WBO world-title clash between Lomachenko and Rigondeaux – both double Olympic gold medallists – which takes place at Madison Square Garden’s Theater on Saturday night.
The undefeated 26-year-old Irishman returns to the venue where he made his successful pro debut in front of a sell-out crowd last March, taking on Argentinean Luis Fernando Molina (7-3-1) over six rounds (live on BoxNation in the UK and Ireland).
But former world amateur champion Conlan is thinking big as he also hopes to use the fight-week build-up to size up two of world boxing’s best pound-for-pound fighters ahead of their headline bout.
“I think both Rigo and Lomachenko are unbelievable fighters,” said Conlan. “I’ve looked up to them my whole amateur career and now obviously in my professional career.
“But one day soon I expect to be fighting one of them, so I wouldn’t feel star stuck about being on the bill or anything like that.
“I’m fighting on the bill with two of the greatest amateurs to ever live and potentially two Hall of Fame pros as well so it is exciting – but I always have the end goal in mind as well, which is that one of them could be a future opponent.”
Conlan participated in a media workout session yesterday (Weds) at Mendez’s Gym on East 26th Street in Manhattan just ahead of the main-event fighters and he welcomed the chance to assess two of boxing’s most stylish elite fighters.
“I consider this an opportunity to see where I’m at and where they’re at and I’ll take it from there. I’m just watching and learning because I know they’re ahead of me, but I know it’s not going to be too long before I get to that stage,” continued Ireland’s two-time Olympian, who admitted that a fight against either Rigondeaux or Lomachenko is still some time away.
Conlan has built a 4-0 record since turning pro eight months ago, based out of LA under coach Manny Robles, and the MTK Global-managed fighter insists he won’t be calling either of the headliners out just yet.
“I’m not going to be offending anyone or anything like that,” laughed the Belfast native. “There’s no point because a fight against either one of them is still obviously a bit away and there’s no point in me calling them out or anything like that. They’re focused on their fights and they won’t be bothered with what I’m saying. I won’t be doing any crazy s**t!”
Conlan’s elder brother Jamie ran the rule over his younger sibling at yesterday’s media workout as he helps him prepare for this weekend’s bout against Molina.
Jamie recently suffered his first pro loss in a world super-flyweight title fight defeat to classy IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas of the Philippines, but he yesterday received a boost with the announcement that he has been appointed as MTK Global’s Professional Development Coordinator.
While the elder Conlan is taking a break from training while helping his brother out, the world-title challenger reckons Michael has the skills to eventually compete with the likes of Rigondeaux and Lomachenko as a pro.
“He needs time, he really needs time before that,” said Jamie. “He has a lot of learning to do. These two are the crème de la crème of pure boxing ability and two of the best we’ve seen in a few decades at least.
“To be at that level would be something else, but he’s 100 per cent certainly capable of reaching the elite level that these guys are at.”