News April 2014

Jamie Conlan targets title run and looks to embody 'El Terrible'


By @John_Evans79

Belfast’s Jamie Conlan, 10-0 (6 KO’s), takes on Belgian, Benjamin Smoes, 9-2-1 (1 KO) this weekend and is eager to show people that Britain may have more than one world class super flyweight.

Paul Butler has made great strides over the past twelve months. So great, in fact, that he has already spoken about leaving the domestic scene and – importantly for Conlan –his British and Commonwealth super flyweight titles behind. Conlan’s new deal with Cyclone Promotions virtually guarantees him the stage and financial backing to ensure that Belfast is an attractive destination for any future British and Commonwealth title fights. In an ideal world, the Lonsdale belt would be up for grabs on the same night as Carl Frampton’s inevitable world title challenge.

“You just painted the perfect scenario,” Conlan told Livefight before this Friday’s WBO European title fight. “Something like that in the cauldron that Carl Frampton brings and with my supporters on top would be brilliant. Nothing’s ever cemented in boxing and things change overnight but that’d be perfect.

“It’s exactly what you want. A bit of a step up in class and a wee bit of progression in my career and a chance to move forward. I haven’t seen him [Smoes]. I never watch anybody to be honest. I focus on my own thing and let my trainers [John Breen and Eamonn Magee], father and brother watch the opponent and give me any tips. It doesn’t really bother me. If someone does something in one fight, it doesn’t mean they’ll do it in every fight. Everyone’s different. You have to adapt to different fighters and usually within 30 seconds of the first round you know what you’ve got to do. You have to concentrate on what you can do rather than them.”

The bantamweight division has become extremely fashionable in recent months. Stuart Hall’s shock ascension to IBF champion may attract Butler up from super flyweight, British champion Lee Haskins’ demolition of Luke Wilton was seen by a terrestrial television audience on Channel 5 and former IBF champion Jamie McDonnell is being pushed by promotional powerhouse, Matchroom. There is plenty of money to be made at 118lbs and Conlan briefly considered moving up before deciding to set his sight firmly on making up for lost time and dominating the super flyweight division.

“Yeah, it’s getting more attention as more people step up. It seems to be a heated up division in Britain especially. I’m big. I’m 5ft 7in so it’s definitely something I could do pretty quickly. Everyone has their problems making the weight but I make it and I make it strong. Over time, I make it pretty handily. Bantamweight could be an option pretty soon but I just want to get some title experience first at super flyweight and then I’ll throw my name in the hat.

“Cyclone want to build me on my own shows and have me topping bills in Belfast and bringing in my own crowds. They’re really going to push for the British and Commonwealth titles too. They want me with belts. They’re going to push me pretty hard and pretty quickly.

“There are times [during periods of inactivity] where you think boxing maybe isn’t the way forward anymore but I’m in a better place now. I’ve got goals now and in love with boxing and my training again. I was like that a couple of years ago, always bursting to go, and then we seemed to hit a wall and nothing seemed to happen for a while. We were having one fight a year and stuff like that. It wasn’t enough. Now we’re picking it up again. There seems to be a fire burning in Belfast and myself and Cyclone Promotions will be bringing a lot of shows to it and a new crowd in.”

Unsurprisingly, considering his nickname is ‘The Mexican’ Conlan’s hero is Mexican great Erik Morales. ‘El Terrible’ is rightly lauded for his incredible wars with the likes of Marco Antonio Barrera and Manny Pacquiao but, for me, it is the multi weight world champion’s spiteful attitude that always appealed.

Whether he was throwing a water bottle at Marco Antonio Barrera whilst they waited for the decision to be announced in their rubber match, posing over the prone ‘Bobby Boy’ Velardez, knocking Angel Chacon cold with a horrible (beautiful?) hook-er-cut or effortlessly stopping the brave but outclassed Mike Juarez, no matter the calibre of opponent, Morales always entered the ring overflowing with bad intentions. Luckily for his supporters - and unluckily for his opponents – Conlan also admires the Mexican’s mean streak.

“I love him! Ah, he had the guy on the ropes and he turned an uppercut into a hook and had him out cold. Your man was hanging out of the ring.” Conlan describes the Chacon knockout and proves he is just as much of a Morales nerd as I am. “There were times when he could have made a fight easy for himself – like the Injin Chi fight - but instead he made them hard just for the fans. He always wanted to make the fans happy. I like that. At the end of the day they’re paying their money to come and watch. You should be privileged that someone wants to pay to watch you. Everything was spiteful. He’s my favourite fighter in so many ways including his attitude. He was brilliant.”

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