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Michael Conlan shows respect for TJ Doheny but confident he’ll emerge victorious

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Conlan says he’ll be eye the winner if Stephen Fulton vs Brandon Figueroa with a win over Doheny.

Terence Crawford v Egidijus Kavaliauskas Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Irish junior featherweight Michael Conlan (15-0, 8 KO) is set for his next fight Friday, when he faces veteran TJ Doheny (22-2, 16 KO) in a bout set in Belfast.

And as Conlan looks to keep his undefeated record intact, he’s also willingly acknowledging that he’s set to square off against a tough and slick fighter in Doheny. Conlan tells RingTV he’s the best route for Doheny to make it back towards the top of the division while Conlan himself says he needs this win to propel him towards a world title fight.

“He’s coming to get back to the top and I’m the quickest and best route for him to do that. For me, he’s the next guy on my path to being a world champion and I’ve got to beat him. I’m very confident, but I know I know this is a very, very hard fight.”

Conlan would go on to say that this fight is a huge opportunity to make a statement being the first big fight held in Belfast since the pandemic began. And with two Irish fighters vying for the pride of their country there’s sure to be some explosive action between the ropes.

Even still, though, Conlan says he’ll be well prepared for anything that Doheny brings on the night and expects to be better than his counterpart in every aspect of the game. And should Conlan pull off the win in this fight, he says he’s got an eye on the winner of another top fight in the division, the Sept. 11 Showtime bout between titleholders Stephen Fulton Jr and Brandon Figueroa.

“The winner will be next whether it’s winter or St. Patrick’s Day, it doesn’t matter. I’ll have my eye on [Fulton-Figueroa], but I’ve got to keep my eyes fully on TJ first because he’s a very tough competitor.”

Conlan, 29, last took a majority decision against Ionut Baluta this past April while Doheny, 34, dropped a decision to Baluta in his last appearance in March of 2020.