Michael Conlan spoke to Boxing Social yesterday and had a message for new WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton.
“Keep the belt warm, keep the belt clean because I’m coming to take it soon. Congratulations on your performance. Bask in this as long as you can because I’m coming.”
On Saturday night in Uncasville, Fulton fought Angelo Leo at his own game to take the title from the champion who was making his first defence. It was a rough, tough back and forth bruiser that showed Fulton’s adaptability. Conlan watched the fight. He tipped the Philadelphian to emerge victorious in interviews leading up to the show. And now after 14 fights the Belfast 29-year-old is ready and keen to take on the champion.
“I think I could be boxing April time. All being well against Stephen Fulton for the WBO world title,” said Conlan who will soon move from number two with the WBO to the number one contender spot for Fulton’s title.
Conlan who is nearing 100% recovery after an ankle injury in October added: “I’ve said umpteen times, time and time again, once my opportunity comes and I fight for a world title I will grab it with both hands, and I will become World champion. That’s just a simple fact. I know that, I feel that.”
As for the fight’s location Conlan would love nothing more for it to take place in Belfast. Should that be the case it would be only the third time the Top Rank fighter would have boxed in his home city.
“I have a feeling my team will win the purse bid, because I’ll be mandated, and I have a feeling it could be in Belfast. That would be a dream come true to have it in Belfast. Please God we’ll be able to have some fans with us. If not and they won purse bids and it was on a PBC show in Philadelphia or something like that then that’s no problem. I can do that. That’s good for me.”
And the confident Conlan doesn’t just think he beats Fulton; he believes he wins with ease.
“I think if me and Fulton fight, I’d beat him comfortably, very comfortably. I think he’s a very good fighter, but I beat him comfortably.”
Conlan (14-0, 8 KOs) last fought in the Covid hit 2020 stopping former World featherweight title challenger Sofiane Takoucht. Conlan got the job done in the tenth and final round at York Hall. Conlan is aware of the critics who pick out his lack of power as a potential failing but as he says it is not his style to go in there and blast people out of the ring.
“I’m not a massive, devastating puncher… and everyone says I don’t punch. If I wasn’t a puncher then why aren’t people just walking through me and stopping me? I think my power is definitely overlooked and underrated,” said Conlan.
“I like to do it the right way, the smart way where I’m not wasting shit. I enjoyed the Takoucht fight. I think I would have got him out sooner if it wasn’t for the warnings which I felt were very harsh.”
The low blow warnings from referee Michael Gray reminded Conlan, during the interview, of the ticking offs he had in previous fights against Jason Cunningham (refereed by Steve Gray) and Adeilson Dos Santos (refereed by Phil Edwards). Conlan said he has never been warned in America during his pro career and thinks British referees may have noted his body shots and possibly look out for it.
“Actually, I’d probably prefer the [Fulton] fight to be in the U.S,” he said in a change of mind.
“Listen, it is what it is. 2021 is the year I become world champion.”