For a few years now, boxing has attempted to go younger, to gain an advantage in the combat sports industry. Some pan out well, while others fizzle out. It appears that Michael Conlan is on the side of the former. The Irish-born 26-year old defeated Ibon Larrinaga inside Madison Square Garden. Conlan won the bout via unanimous decision, 80-72 across the board.
Coming into the building with a New York Knicks jersey on, it felt like a homecoming, thanks to the pro-Conlan crowd. After fighting inside Madison Square Garden’s Theater three times, Conlan (7-0) graduated to the real thing. Inside The World’s Most Famous Arena, Conlan tried his best to knock out Ibon (10-2) several times, but to no avail. Instead, his overall fighting ability dominated the bout.
In the early rounds, Conlan showed off his skills, whether it was his flashy footwork or hard punches. Conlan was the aggressor through it all, hitting body shot after body shot to Ibon. It wasn’t until round three when Ibon got some sort of advantage with jabs to the face of Conlan. The kid prevailed through adversity however and powered back each time. It was all Conlan after that.
In round four, Conlan hit Ibon with a hard right hand, which had such force that it knocked Ibon through the ropes. You could also say Conlan pushed him out. It almost felt like a pro wrestling match was going on.
The rest of the fight was what you expected: jabs, uppercuts and hooks. That was all by Conlan by the way. The fight went the entire eight rounds. A knockout would have been great, but he will take a decisive victory with calculating shots.
Conlan has now proven to be a hot commodity. With his swagger and power, he has a presence similar to mentor Conor McGregor. It wouldn’t be far off to say he can be the next McGregor, if booked correctly.
Where does the kid go from here? He already has a fight scheduled back home in Ireland against Adeilson Dos Santos. While the featherweight may not be ready for a title opportunity just yet, he is bringing a lot of deserved attention towards him. As time goes on, the competition will get tougher, and you know Conlan is up to the challenge. If Top Rank has their way, Conlan can be a true force to be reckoned with for years to come. He just needs the right sparring partner to elevate him to the stratosphere.