EXCLUSIVE: Mick Conlan reflects on successful 2017, picks out Pacquiao undercard as highlight

Jacob Kilbride 23/02/2018

Team Conlan

Michael Conlan believes that he learned plenty during his debut year as a professional in America and is hoping to build on his success for a big 2018.

Conlan won all five of his bouts last year, with four of those victories coming inside the distance, and trained under the guidance of Manny Robles at the Rock Gym in California.

Having moved back to the UK to join Adam Booth’s gym last month, Conlan is looking to combine both styles for a successful career in the paid ranks.

“LA is a great place for professional boxing because everybody from all four corners of the world goes there for training,” Conlan exclusively told World Boxing News.

“I felt like I learned an awful lot. I learned a new style of boxing, the Mexican style of professional boxing with that inside work and being able to go to the trenches a lot.”

“I was sparring world champion fighters such as Oscar Valdez and (Jessie) Magdeleno. I did great work out there and I feel that it’s going to benefit me.”

“I just need to mix my natural style of movement-punching with that Mexican style, then I feel like I can become a complete fighter.”

Conlan has fought on some of Top Rank’s biggest shows after signing with the prestigious American promotional company after the 2016 Rio Olympics.

“Fighting in big venues has been fantastic,” continued the 26-year-old. “Fighting on the (Manny) Pacquiao (vs Jeff Horn) undercard was crazy because it was in Australia and there are a lot of Irish in Australia.”

“It was a 50,000-seater stadium and I brought a lot of fans out there to come and watch me.”

“It was a special event and Pacquiao has been one of my idols, ever since I was a boy and he’s someone that I always looked up to.”

“My fight was more or less the co-main event on a show which unfortunately he (Pacquiao) lost in but hopefully it’s not his last fight.”

The Belfast prospect achieved almost everything in the amateurs, winning World, European and Commonwealth gold medals as well as an Olympic bronze.

After a year as a professional, Conlan believes he’s now moving out of his amateur style of boxing.

“I feel that the change from amateur boxing to pro boxing at the start was a bit, maybe not slow, but it was difficult trying to get out of a style which had been grained into me since I was seven years of age,” admitted Conlan.

“Pace is one of the main differences between the amateurs and professionals. Obviously, you’re focusing more on power shots than point scoring shots.”

“Now I feel that I have that style under control and I feel that this year is going to be a really big year for me please.”

Jacob Kilbride is a staff writer for World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @jacob_kilbride