Monday, March 27, 2023  |



Conlan to make pro debut against Tim Ibarra at 124 pounds


Michael Conlan’s pro debut on March 17 will come against Tim Ibarra (4-4, 1 knockout) in a scheduled six-round bout at a catch-weight of 124 pounds, Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman told on Tuesday.

The bout is slated for the main event at Madison Square Garden’s Theater on St. Patrick’s Day and will be a showcase for Conlan, a former Irish Olympic bronze medalist who made headlines this past summer at the Rio Games. Conlan vaulted to fame after he gave AIBA judges and officials the middle finger in the ring following a controversial decision loss to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in the bantamweight quarterfinals in a bout most observers thought he won. He followed that up with a barrage of accusations, alleging the match had been fixed by AIBA officials and that Russian president Vladimir Putin was in on it.

Nikitin couldn’t even fight in the semifinals, withdrawing from the tournament because of injuries incurred in the bout with Conlan, who was later fined by AIBA in the amount of nearly $10,000 for his post-match tirade. AIBA subsequently suspended 36 of its referees and judges from the Rio Games, pending an investigation into the scoring. A gold medal favorite before the Olympics, Conlan said he won’t pay the fine.

Sensing a great promotional opportunity, Top Rank’s Bob Arum signed Conlan, a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, in September to a multi-year contract. A press conference is scheduled for Wednesday at the Garden to formally announce his pro debut. Colorado’s Ibarra, 26, fought four times in 2016, losing his last bout in December, a four-round decision to undefeated Jose Gonzalez. Conlan is currently training in Carson, California with Manny Robles, whose son, Manny Jr., stopped Ibarra in the first round in 2012.