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'After We Signed Conlan, I Got A Message From Somebody At AIBA'

'After We Signed Conlan, I Got A Message From Somebody At AIBA'
By Gavan Casey Updated

When Michael Conlan signed on the dotted line for Top Rank back in September, the US-based promotional giant likened the recruitment to their capture of future Hall-of-Famer Miguel Cotto 15 years prior.

The Falls Road super-bantamweight arrived Stateside last week, on his first ever one-way ticket, to prepare for his new life in California. He was relieved to escape the frenetic nature of daily life in Ireland since becoming one of the island's most recognisable sporting figures after Rio, but was almost immediately taken back across to the East Coast and New York City, where he'll make his professional bow on St. Patrick's Day.

Madison Square Garden will play host to that encounter with the unheralded Tim Ibarra, and it also played centre stage at Conlan's first Stateside press conference yesterday. There, Top Rank again reiterated their belief that the world amateur bantamweight champion possesses the traits necessary to become the face of boxing, such is his talent and character.

The presser was straightforward, with more details regarding Conlan's pro bow to be unveiled shortly (and yes, Conor McGregor will be heavily involved). There were, however, two highly amusing anecdotes from a smitten Top Rank president, Todd duBoef.

First, he revealed how Top Rank's CEO, the iconic if oft-reviled Bob Arum, was initially nonplussed about the prospect of signing Conlan (Arum no longer makes signings or even seeks them out, and instead focuses on matchmaking).

Naturally, he was quick to change his tune having met Conlan in person, but particularly having witnessed first hand the enthusiasm of Irish fans who viewed Conlan's move as a massive one not only for professional boxing, but sport in this country:

Carl [Moretti], our team - we all knew what we wanted. Bob just sat there. He was like: 'Alright. Alright.'

We sign [Conlan], we send out the picture of Michael and Bob giving the finger - which was so perfect.

EVERY morning for over a month, Bob would call: 'You won't believe how many Irish people are following me on Twitter now! You won't believe this!'

He is absolutely so impassioned that he found a 'little Bob'. He found his little guy who's got personality, who's gonna tell everybody to go screw off and go do his thing.

So two days ago, I get a call from Bob, and he tells me: 'Steve Kim, a writer, went to see Michael train. He's NEVER seen anybody train like this'!

Every day... 'You take care of Michael! Send my best!'

DuBoef then turned to Conlan and told the Belfast man:


I mean, honestly, I think you've become his son. Or grandson. We're not sure.

But [Bob] has adopted Michael like no one else.

The Top Rank president also revealed that he received a text from a highly unlikely source when Conlan signed with the US promotional giants.


But, despite their fruitless attempts to fine the former two-time Olympian, who shook the amateur boxing governing body to its 'rotten' core last August (AIBA have since restructured significantly), DuBoef received only a good review.

Anecdotally, I'll say this - and it says everything.

After we signed him, I got a message from somebody at AIBA... And they said: 'He's a very good fighter'.

So, the people that were not so nice recognised his brilliance.

Ah, sound. All is forgiven, so.

You can watch the full press conference, which also features Matthew Macklin and, naturally, Conlan himself, below.


Michael Conlan Press Conference


SEE ALSO: 9 Exciting Irish Boxers Making Their Pro Debuts In 2017

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