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Michael Conlan: ‘I want real opponents’

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After another win this weekend, the prospect feels he’s ready to step up.

Boxing at SSE Arena Belfast Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Michael Conlan, the top featherweight prospect from Ireland who has been part of many big Top Rank cards already, feels he’s ready to step up after a win on Saturday night over Nicola Cipolletta on the Murata-Brant card.

Conlan (9-0, 6 KO) stopped Cipolletta in the seventh round, but felt he didn’t look great, describing Cipolletta as a “negative” opponent, and feels better opposition will showcase his skills:

“When you fight a guy who is negative and trying to survive, those guys are the hardest guys to look good against. He was just negative. Now, I want real opponents. I want top 10, top 15 opponents. These are the guys who are going to make me look good. These are the guys who are going to bring out the best of my technical ability.”

There has been some talk of matching Conlan against Vladimir Nikitin (2-0, 0 KO), the Russian who controversially defeated Conlan at the 2016 Olympics. Conlan has said he has no ill feelings for Nikitin himself, but would like to set the record straight.

Right now, Conlan is tentatively set to return on the Dec. 22 Frank Warren card in Manchester, headlined by Josh Warrington vs Carl Frampton. If he is going to face top 10-15 type opponents, it’ll probably come next year, not next fight, but it likely isn’t too far off, because he’s performed well as a pro and has a great amateur pedigree.