Almost exactly a year after coming heartbreakingly close to a world title, Michael Conlan is officially set for his second attempt. Top Rank announced today that “Mick” will challenge IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez on May 27th in his native Belfast.
The winner will most likely be ordered to face the winner of Kiko Martinez vs. Reiya Abe.
Lopez (27-2, 15 KO) is coming off an impressive performance against Josh Warrington that saw him overcome some Holyfieldian head usage to lift the belt by split decision. The victory capped off an out-of-nowhere string of upsets that carried him from obscurity to a world title in the span of two years.
“I am a road warrior. Traveling to my opponent’s home country doesn’t faze me,” Lopez said. “I won my world title in Leeds, and now it’s time to defend it in Belfast. The louder they cheer for Michael, the harder I will fight. The IBF title will remain in Mexico. May 27 will be a special night for me, and Michael’s fans will go home disappointed.”
Conlan (18-1, 9 KO) looks to have rebounded nicely from that dramatic loss to Leigh Wood and still has plenty left in the tank. He’s definitely skilled and tricky enough to give Lopez issues, making for a style clash that may not necessarily dazzle but should be interesting at the very least.
“This is a massive opportunity. Fighting for the world title in Belfast is something I’ve always dreamed of, and I will be taking this opportunity with both hands.” Conlan said. “The SSE Arena will be buzzing, and I will do everything I can to bring a world title home. Credit to Lopez for coming to Belfast, but I am taking his title. He is not prepared for what is coming his way on May 27. Ireland will see a new champion crowned.”
Props to Lopez for accepting another tough matchup on the road and to Conlan for diving back into the fray.