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Cheeky Michael Conlan Tweet Results In Massive Belfast Fight Live On Sky Sports

Cheeky Michael Conlan Tweet Results In Massive Belfast Fight Live On Sky Sports
By Gavan Casey

It doesn't take a segment with a fitness blogger on Claire Byrne Live for most people to accept that, in spite of its frequently repugnant offerings, social media can be of serious benefit to society.

None more so than in the fight game, where in both boxing and MMA, unarmed combatants have used Twitter in particular to both garner and sell major fights, all the while marketing themselves to a wider audience.

Conor McGregor's 'retirement' last year was one of the biggest power plays we've seen in world sport since LeBron James made 'The Decision' on ESPN in 2010, but even on a more micro level, Twitter has birthed countless fights over the past five or so years, and is rapidly revolutionising the way all fight sports are promoted to and consumed by fans.

Today, former Irish amateur standout and 9-1 cruiserweight Tommy McCarthy landed a career-best fight with the returning Cork-based Cuban sensation Mike 'The Rebel' Perez, which will be broadcast live on Sky Sports on the undercard of Ryan Burnett's IBF World bantamweight title contest with Lee Haskins at Belfast's Odyssey Arena on June 10th.

However, this out-of-the-blue and potentially thunderous scrap was not born of incessant trolling and acting the bollocks as so many of its kind are. Instead, it was McCarthy's fellow Belfast man - former two-time Olympian and 2015 world amateur champion Michael Conlan - who got the ball rolling for his old pal, using only his thumbs.

It started last week, when McCarthy - frustrated that he hadn't been included on the undercard of Burnett's title tilt in the pair's hometown - voiced his dissatisfaction on Twitter. Having not fought since his sole career reversal to Matty Askin back in November, the two-time Irish amateur heavyweight champ felt his career had stalled, questioning as to why he bothers with boxing at all given the lack of opportunities he's received in recent months.

Enter Conlan, a former Irish teammate of McCarthy's, who in Irish and UK boxing terms might be considered an 'influencer' given his meteoric recent transition from amateur star to Top Rank bill-topper in the States.

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The 25-year-old is deep in preparation for his second professional contest in Chicago this Friday night, but it didn't prevent him from firing a tweet in the direction of Eddie Hearn, whose Matchroom Promotions are putting together Burnett's home world title card in Belfast on June 10th.

A self-professed fan of Conlan's since his ascent to the pinnacle of amateur boxing, Hearn wasted no time in spitballing a potential firefight between McCarthy and Mike Perez on Burnett's undercard - a bout guaranteed to both compliment the main event in terms of ticket sales, and generate feverish interest amongst the Belfast and Irish boxing massive.

McCarthy quickly intervened and advised Hearn to speak with his manager, Pat Magee, if he was serious about making the fight.

Hearn duly obliged.

And so within the space of about five tweets and a phonecall, McCarthy was on the verge of landing the biggest fight of his career, live on Sky Sports, in his hometown - all on the back of a bit of arse-chancery from Conlan across the Atlantic.

Less than a week later, a Matchroom press release confirmed the mouth-watering showdown.

Hearn said in his statement:

I’m shocked this fight is up and running but its great news for fight fans. Mick Conlan tweeted me and asked that Tommy be on the card and at the same time I had a request from Mike Perez to be on the show.

I contacted both teams and they instantly accepted the fight. It’s a career defining clash for both. Lose and it’s all over – win and it kick-starts a whole new career at championship-level. It’s going to be a big night of boxing on June 10 in Belfast.

Cuban heavyweight tyrant Perez famously swam out to sea to catch a boat out of his home country in 2008, defecting to - of all places - Cork. Despite constant questions regarding his commitment in training, the uber-talented stylist cruised to a Prizefighter title on Sky Sports back in 2011, eventually entering the world title mix after a sensational victory over Russian knockout artist Magomed Abdusalamov in New York. This victory, however, came at a chilling cost; 'Mago' suffered a bleed to his brain, and was put in a medically-induced coma from which he emerged with brain damage.

Perez, a family man, was naturally left devastated, and unable or unwilling to immerse himself fully in a sport which had nearly seen him take a fellow professional's life, his career went south accordingly. But after a two-year hiatus following a shocking defeat to former heavyweight world champion Alexander Povetkin, 'The Rebel' is back, and in career-best shape down at cruiserweight, looking toned and ready for an assault at world honours once more.

He'll have to see off a considerable pugilistic talent in McCarthy - in front of a partisan home crowd, no less - in order to further his comeback, but first up he'll be looking to avoid injury and get a win on Boxing Ireland's Celtic Clash 2 card at Dublin's National Stadium this Saturday.

For McCarthy, it's an opportunity to shine on a massive platform, with any potential victory catapulting him to an entirely more advanced stage in his own career.

For Eddie Hearn, it's a bona fide ticket-seller and a quality offering for fight fans and Sky Sports viewers on either side of the Irish Sea. For Michael Conlan - or 'Mick Arum' as he's informed Balls he'd now prefer to be known, it might be the fight from which Conlan Promotions is spawned down the line.

SEE ALSO: 'Never Mind Wembley, How About Croke Park?': Tyson Fury Calls For Joshua Fight In Ireland

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