Michael Conlan will take on WBC Latino Silver featherweight king Diego Alberto Ruiz in the cauldron of Féile an Phobail on August 3.
Belfast hero Conlan (11-0, 6 KOs) defends his WBO Inter-Continental strap in the city’s Falls Park when he faces dangerous Argentinian Ruiz (21-2, 10 KOs) – live on BT Sport in association with Queensberry Promotions and on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank.
Conlan, who had originally been slated to face former Olympic rival Vladimir Nikitin only for the Russian to withdraw citing a bicep injury, is delighted at the news of a step up in level for his third 10-rounder.
Conlan said: “The show goes on. A bigger fight is happening. A harder fight is happening. A better performance will happen. My motivation and mindset haven’t changed.
“I’ve got a high-class fighter ranked highly in the world. I’m expecting him to cause me more problems than what Nikitin could have caused me.
“Maybe, once I’m world champion, I might give Nikitin a shot but for now I’m moving on because it was more stalling my career than advancing it in terms of the level I’m at.
“Facing a higher level of opponent is better for me. I want to push on towards world titles and big, big fights and I have to start going through the gears now.”
Ruiz said: “This is the biggest fight of my career and a great opportunity to prove myself as a fighter. I fought June 1, and I am going to be ready for whatever Michael brings.
“It won’t be an easy fight, but it is not an impossible task. I am not scared to fight on the road. That is my motivation because the pressure will be on him.”
Several local boxing heroes have already been confirmed on the card with Paddy Barnes, Sean McComb, Alfredo Meli vs. Araik Marutjan, Padraig McCrory, Callum Bradley, Seanie Duffy and Dee Sullivan all earning slots.