Friday, March 24, 2023  |


Irish Olympian Michael Conlan wants Carl Frampton down road

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Irish Olympian Michael Conlan is set to make his pro debut on March 17 on St. Patrick’s Day, but he’s already looking ahead to a potential mega-bout with Northern Ireland’s Carl Frampton, a featherweight titleholder. Conlan envisioned the bout fought in front of 80,000 crazed fans in Ireland.

“There’s one (big fight) for back home in Ireland and that’s Carl Frampton,” Conlan said on Wednesday before a press conference to announce his debut on March 17 against Tim Ibarra at Madison Square Garden. “It’s a bit far off now because I just started my career and he’s far off and has a title defense against Leo Santa Cruz (on Jan. 28). Carl is a hero back home. He’s a great boxer and a great person as well. Definitely in the future, I would love to face Carl but I have to get my career off on March 17.”

Conlan rose to fame after he lost a controversial decision in the bantamweight quarterfinals in the Rio Games last summer and then gave AIBA officials the finger in the ring, later alleging corruption. Conlan will fight in a six-round main event on March 17, a remarkable honor for a boxer in his first fight. Conlan smiled at the thought of how big a bout between himself and Frampton would be in Ireland. He said he may attend Frampton’s featherweight title defense against Santa Cruz on Jan. 28 in Las Vegas. “It would be crazy,” he said. “There’s definitely a stadium big enough, Croke Park, which seats 80,000. It would be a massive thing for the country.”

Conlan knows Frampton well from his friendship with fellow Irish boxer Paddy Barnes. Conlan said Barnes and Frampton are best friends. “At Paddy’s wedding, me and Carl were the best man,” Conlan said with a smile. “We can be future opponents but at the same time I have big respect for Carl. I know I’m a bit far off for the moment but give me a few years and I’ll be there.”