Michael Conlan’s dreams were shattered in Belfast last night in the form of a right uppercut from IBF Featherweight World Champion, Luis Alberto Lopez.
Lopez won the belt in December 2022 from Josh Warrington in Leeds, and stepped into enemy territory for his first defence against Conlan.
The hometown man once again filled the SSE Arena, whipping the crowd into a frenzy of support like not many others can. Unfortunately for him, it affected Lopez little.
The enigmatic Mexican was throwing with intent from the first bell, and although Mick showcased good head movement in spurts, he was getting tagged.
Being met with an uppercut as he was ducking was a problem on more than one occasion, and it led to a devastating shot in the fifth that saw Conlan out flat on his back. The referee was counting, but Adam Booth had thrown in the towel.
BUILT DIFFERENT 🇲🇽
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) May 27, 2023
Hours after the heartbreak in his hometown, he released a typically well-pitched statement thanking fans and paying respect to the champ.
“I’m good folks. Wasn’t at the races tonight, couldn’t seem to get going and paid the price for it.
Congratulations to Lopez on a great performance. I wish you all the best in the future champion. Thank you for the opportunity.
Thanks to everyone who reached out and wished me luck, I can’t get back to you all but I appreciate it!
I’m gonna take sometime away from social media now to enjoy my family and decide what the next steps for me are. Again thank you Belfast for an amazing atmosphere and turn out tonight! Love MC x”
It’s the second time in just over a year that Conlan has had to be treated by ringside doctors – the first being Leigh Wood back in Nottingham with a final round blow that saw him fall through the ropes and onto ringside.
The shot was a sore one, and hard to watch, but will likely pale in comparison to the deep hurt felt from this spoiled world title challenge.