Michael Conlan has promised that everyone will see the best ever version of himself when he faces Diego Alberto Ruiz on the huge #MTKFightNight at Feile an Phobail on Saturday.
The incredible sold out event at Falls Park is main evented by Conlan facing the toughest test of his career so far when he takes on Ruiz, and will be live on BT Sport in association with Queensberry Promotions, and ESPN+ in association with Top Rank.
A huge bill also includes Paddy Gallagher vs. Chris Jenkins for the British & Commonwealth welterweight titles, Luke Keeler vs. Luis Arias, Padraig McCrory vs. Steve Collins Jr for the BUI Celtic super-middleweight title, Sean McComb vs. Renald Garrido Alfredo Meli vs. Araik Marutjan, Olympic hero Paddy Barnes, Dennis McCann, Callum Bradley, Sean Duffy and Dee Sullivan.
Here’s what they had to say at the final press conference…
Michael Conlan: “I’ve had a target on my back since the amateur days. Even when I came into the professional ranks there were expectations on my shoulders. I know how to deal with the pressure.
“This is obviously different and something bigger than I could have ever imagined, but I just plan on going in there and enjoying it. When I get into the ring it’s all business.
“Over the last six or seven months everything has clicked. I’ve been in training for this fight since April, and I’ve learned so much. I believe this is a coming out party for me and it’s the best Michael Conlan you’ll see.”
Trainer Adam Booth: “I want to see the progression and want to see what Michael does in the gym when he’s out in the spotlight. It’s all about the evolution of him as a fighter, and this is an event to match it.
“This event is extremely popular, and he’s fighting a guy who is better than anyone he’s boxed so far in his career. This is a special event, and my job is to ensure he does his job and that he performs how he’s supposed to perform.”
Diego Alberto Ruiz: “I know Michael Conlan very well and he’s a very quick and fast boxer. He’s had a fantastic amateur career but we’ve come here to win this fight and that’s what we’ll do.”
Paddy Gallagher: “It’s going to be a cracker of a fight against Jenkins. One way or another something will happen. Jenkins is a hard fight and is potentially my hardest fight to date, but I’m definitely his hardest fight to date.
“People that don’t know me or Jenkins, tune in and you’ll be a big fan of both of us once this fight is done, that is guaranteed.”
Chris Jenkins: “I’m in a great place since I’ve stepped up to this weight class. I’ve worked too hard to get into this position and I won’t be giving this belt away.”
Luke Keeler: “This fight with Arias is the next step that I need. I had a few wins over Conrad Cummings and this is the right timing and the right step before world titles.
“He’ll be the best guy I’ve been in against but he’s going to come up short on Saturday. He’s underestimating me and that will show on Saturday.”
Luis Arias: “I’ve done my homework on Keeler and I don’t think he’s ready. I like to back my things up with facts. I fought a world champion at 27, when he was 27 he was fighting bums. The experience will be a big factor.”
Padraig McCrory: “I’m really looking forward to this fight with Steve Collins Jr. I think the name ‘Steve Collins Jr’ is better than what Collins Jr actually is, so this will be a good name on my record.”
Steve Collins: “I feel good and feel strong at this weight. I’m well hydrated and I couldn’t believe how easy I’ve made 168 lbs.
“I carry the strength and the power over from cruiserweight to super-middleweight and he’ll realise he’s made a mistake taking this fight.”
Sean McComb: “I’m expecting a good fight against Renald Garrido. It’s a good step up at the right time and I think it’s good matchmaking at this stage of my career.
“I’m 7-0 and haven’t even been professional a year, so I’m moving fast and enjoying the journey. Garrido will be a come forward fight and is tough, but I believe I’m better in every area.”
Paddy Barnes: “The plan is to move down to light-flyweight and I think I’ll be as successful at this weight as I was as an amateur. My record says 5-2, but I’ve boxed a world champion and fought people with good records.
“I could be sat here 12-0 fighting bums but I don’t want that. We move on and we’ll push to light flyweight and try to be as successful as I can.”
MTK Global Professional Development Coordinator Jamie Conlan: “Boxing is a major part of Belfast, especially West Belfast. It was always a safe haven for us as kids. Boxing is a saviour for a lot of kids growing up, and the Feile is the same.
“It’s given the people of West Belfast something to look forward to in the summer, so to combine the two together is fantastic.”
Promoter Lee Eaton: “The venue is absolutely unbelievable. It’s an incredible occasion, and it’s a stacked show. I’m absolutely buzzing to be a part of it and it’s an amazing night. It’s sold out now and we’re really looking forward to it.”