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Michael Conlan excited for Belfast return at Féile an Phobail

The hometown star is looking to put on a show at Falls Park.

Michael Conlan v Ruben Garcia Hernandez Photo by Edward Diller/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Featherweight prospect and rising contender Michael Conlan returns home to Belfast this coming Saturday, where he’ll face Diego Alberto Ruiz in the main event of an ESPN+ card.

Conlan (11-0, 6 KO) is excited to be headlining a fight card at Féile an Phobail, a long-running festival in the city.

“Fighting at Falls Park is really a dream come true. Féile an Phobail is now in its 31st year. I remember going to the festival for many years when I was a kid,” Conlan said. “The atmosphere has always been very celebratory for the Irish people, and fighting there on August 3 will be very special. I have so many friends and family who live very close to Falls Park. When I was younger, we lived very close, and it was like a second home for my friends and I.”

The 27-year-old Conlan was originally meant to face Vladimir Nikitin, his amateur rival who scored an incredibly controversial win over the favored Conlan at the Rio Olympics in 2016. But Nikitin was forced out due to injury, and Conlan isn’t taking Ruiz (21-2, 10 KO) lightly or letting himself be let down by the change.

“I’m really excited. (Ruiz) is very, very good. He’s a tough guy, and if I want to be world champion, I need to beat this guy. I think you’ll see the best Michael Conlan yet come Saturday.”

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