Mick Conlan eyes August return after close points triumph

Mick Conlan

Queensberry Promotions

Superstar in the making, Mick Conlan has targeted a return to action by the end of the summer after edging a victory on Friday night in London.

Conlan’s junior featherweight debut was a little tougher than expected, but the Belfast native pulled through. He edged Ionut Baluta by majority decision (114-114, 115-114, and 117-112) to win the WBO International junior featherweight belt, formally announcing his intentions a world title challenger at 122 pounds.

Conlan’s junior featherweight coronation was almost spoiled, as Baluta closed the fight strong in the final three rounds.

Conlan’s early lead proved too much for the Romanian-born contender to overcome.

Baluta (14-3, 3 KOs), whose awkward attack was difficult to decipher, entered the bout coming off upset victories over a pair of Conan’s Irish countrymen, TJ Doheny and Davey Oliver Joyce.

Conlan (15-0, 8 KOs), the WBO No. 1 junior featherweight contender, can now look toward a title shot shortly.

Whether the title shot is next or a couple of bouts down the line remains to be seen.

Mick Conlan beats Ionut Baluta
Frank Warren

MICK CONLAN POST-FIGHT

Conlan said, “Baluta is a tough character, tougher than I thought. And he showed it in his last two performances. He’s as game as they come.

“But he was missing tons of punches, so I wasn’t really worried. But when {the first scorecard read} was a draw, I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’

“It was a good fight, good preparation for what’s to come.

“I’ll stay active. I’ll fight in August anyway, and I’ll get straight back in the gym.”

In the main event, there was an upset, as Sunny Edwards defeated Moruti Mthalane by unanimous decision (118-111, 120-108, and 115-113) to win the IBF flyweight world title.

Mthalane (39-3, 26 KOs) had been unbeaten since 2008, while Edwards (16-0, 4 KOs) proved up to the task in his first world title outing.

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