Belfast-born super bantamweight Michael Conlan expects a fight with fellow undefeated prospect Shakur Stevenson to take place without a world title but in front of huge Irish support at Madison Square Garden.
Stevenson, 21, won a bantamweight silver medal the at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games and is undefeated in nine bouts since turning professional in 2017.
Conlan, also competing at bantamweight in Rio, suffered a controversial defeat to Vladimir Nikitin in the quarter-final.
Speculation surrounding a showdown between the Stevenson and Conlan has been rife since the American questioned whether the Irishman really was robbed in Rio.
“I think the Stevenson fight will happen without a world title,” Conlan explained to World Boxing News.
“I mean, it would be nice if it did happen for a world title. But It’ll be a good fight, especially because I can bring a lot of people to New York.
“It would likely be at Madison Square Garden when the fight happens, which is probably my favourite venue in the world.
“Out of nine fights, I’ve boxed there five times and I headlined it on my debut, I actually sold it out on my debut. 6,000 people as a young pro.”
And that huge Irish support means a great deal to 26-year-old Conlan, who outpointed Adeilson Dos Santos in a Belfast homecoming earlier this year.
“The Irish fans are special. Everything I’ve achieved in America, it’s all down to the Irish fans and their support.
“The Irish people support and get behind our own. I don’t think there are many other nationalities like it.
“The Irish are the biggest immigrants around the world, and that community in America has supported me.”
“I’m very proud to be Irish,” concluded the talented Top Rank star.
James Copley is a Staff Writer for World Boxing News. Follow James on Twitter @JamesCopley73