Irish Olympic star Conlan to return May 26


Two months after his electrifying professional debut, 2016 Irish Olympic star Michael Conlan will return to the ring for pro fight number two.

Conlan (1-0, 1 KO), who was walked to the ring for his pro debut by good buddy and UFC star Conor McGregor, will headline Top Rank’s UniMas-televised card on May 26 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, the promotional company announced Thursday.

Conlan will face an opponent to be determined in a six-round featherweight fight.

Conlan made his debut at the sold-out Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York on March 17 — St. Patrick’s Day — and knocked out Tim Ibarra in the third round with a raucous Irish crowd cheering wildly.

“I’m delighted to be boxing in Chicago,” Conlan said. “Chicago being heavily populated with Irish, I’ve already had a huge amount of people contacting me about the fight. And for Top Rank to have me as a main event again with a fantastic undercard is great. I’m looking forward to going there and putting on a great show for the fans.”

Top Rank initially was planning to have Conlan’s second fight in Irish-heavy Boston, but it was unable to find a venue for the date.

“We couldn’t get a building/arena available for Boston, but no doubt we’ll eventually get there,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said.

Conlan is in training camp with trainer Manny Robles in Carson, California, and Robles said he was pleased with his progress since the debut.

“Michael is looking better and looking sharper in the gym. You will definitely see an even greater fighter in the ring in Chicago,” Robles said. “Michael is eager to grow and learn each day. He understands his responsibility not only to his management and promoter but to his people and entire country. He wants to become a world champion and make his country proud. It is my job to help get him there.”

According to manager Matthew Macklin, the retired former three-time middleweight title challenger, Conlan took one week off following his debut win before returning to camp.

“Michael took a week off and was back in the gym sparring (junior featherweight world titleholder) Jessie Magdaleno and working on all aspects of his game,” Macklin said. “He’s very much a work in progress but he has all the talent in the world and is very dedicated. I expect him to settle down more in this fight and put on a great performance.”

The card will also feature former junior welterweight world titlist Mike Alvarado (36-4, 24 KOs), 36, of Denver, in a 10-round bout against Matthew Strode (24-4, 9 KOs), 34, of Greensboro, North Carolina, and welterweight up-and-comer Alex Saucedo (24-0, 15 KOs), 22, of Oklahoma City, in an eight-rounder against an opponent to be determined.


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