Michael Conlan wants Josh Warrington next year

Anthony Cocks

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Undefeated featherweight contender Michael Conlan 11-0 (6) is targeting a shot at IBF 126-pound champion Josh Warrington 29-0 (6) within a year.

The classy contender returns to the ring in Belfast this Saturday night when he faces WBO number 13 ranked bantamweight Diego Alberto Ruiz 21-2 (10).

The 27-year-old Conlan, who is ranked WBO number five, WBA number six and IBF number 12 at featherweight, already has his sights set on a world title shot.

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“My style is all wrong for Warrington,” Conlan said to The Ring. “My level of opposition when I was amateur was much better than his. I think I can beat him right now if he was my opponent on Saturday but within the next year I will fight him and beat him. My dream would be to do it at Madison Square Garden.”

Conlan is comfortable with the media obligations he expects to face in Belfast, saying he has just as much experience in this area as he does fighting in the ring.

“I think New York has helped me understand how to balance these important out-of-the-ring obligations,” Conlan said. “We did more interviews for my pro debut than some world champions do. It was great learning for me.”

Conlan believes he has improved his skillset in this training camp and is looking forward to showing off his development in the ring.

“I think I moved up levels in this camp,” he said. “We worked on my movement, defense and how to manage my aggressiveness. Anything can happen to me and I will still come out victorious. I can lose one arm and still win. No one can beat me now.”

While Warrington remains the primary target for Conlan in the medium-term, the fight he would love to have is against young hotshot Shakur Stevenson at Madison Square Garden.

“There would be a lot of money and interest in that fight,” Conlan said. “I have more fans in New York than Shakur and New York is my city.”


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