Michael Conlan has championed the thriving Irish boxing scene ahead of Saturday’s colossal homecoming night – live on BT Sport.
With some already dubbing Belfast the key fight city in Europe, Conlan is preparing to step up against Adeilson Dos Santos as the headline act of a glittering card at The SSE Arena.
The former world amateur champion said: “Boxing has always been a huge sport in Ireland but it says a lot about it that you’ve got English stars like Tyson Fury and Jack Catterall fighting here these days.
“Irish boxing is in a great place and you’ve now got some of the world’s leading fighters coming over here to experience the unique atmosphere on huge bills.
“I’ve never felt threatened by the pressure of living up to the expectations in Belfast. That stuff just doesn’t bother me and all I really have to do is be myself.
“There’s a team mentality about Belfast boxers. Everyone supports each other and if one of us does well, it benefits everyone.
“I’ve got this huge homecoming night and that has resulted in a lot of great fights getting made on the card so the whole environment is positive. It’s the same when Carl Frampton fights.
“People are starting to acknowledge Belfast as the fight capital of Europe and that’s a special thing for this city.
“Of course there is lots of competition from other cities but the recent shows being put on by Frank Warren and MTK Global on BT Sport have taken things to a new level.”
Conlan v Dos Santos headlines a card featuring Jack Catterall v Tyrone McKenna, Jono Carroll v Declan Geraghty, Johnny Coyle v Lewis Benson, Tyrone McCullagh v Joe Ham and much more.