Home Boxing News Luis Alberto Lopez defends IBF crown with vicious knockout of Michael Conlan

Luis Alberto Lopez defends IBF crown with vicious knockout of Michael Conlan

Luis Alberto Lopez knocks out Michael Conlan. Photo credit: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

In the first defence of his IBF featherweight title Luis Alberto Lopez 28-2 (16) scored an impressive fifth-round knockout of Michael Conlan 18-2 (9) at The SSE Aeran in Belfast, Northern Ireland on Saturday night.

The 29-year-old Mexican won the world title with a majority decision victory over Josh Warrington 31-2-1 (8) in Leeds, England last December.

Boxing from the southpaw stance, Conlan had some early success but the tide turned against the 31-year-old Irishman in the third when a right uppercut from Lopez landed and appeared to hurt the hometown hero. It was a portent of things to come.

In the fifth round the same punch floored Conlan so heavily, his corner immediately through in the towel. The official time of the stoppage was 1:14.

“I wanted to come to Belfast so I can prove that I am a true champion,” Lopez said through an interpreter post-fight.

“I’m more powerful than him. I’m stronger than him and had speed and great footwork.”

The short version of the story is that Lopez was able to drag Conlan into his type of fight.

“Everything was great and then the bell rang,” said Top Rank vice-president of operations Carl Moretti according to the Belfast Telegraph.

“Things got real after that. You got to see [Lopez] losing the early rounds, but he was winning the war.

“At some point he [Conlan] must have thought ‘I can’t do this for 12 rounds so I need to get him out of there’ and that’s where the firefight started. That’s boxing.”

The plan now is to unify at featherweight before moving up to the super featherweight division.

“He now needs a good rest as he also has a baby on board, but he wants all the belts at 126 and then jump to the 130s,” said Lopez’s manager Luis ‘Kiki’ Magana.

“I knew that ‘Venado’ had a really good training camp. He made the adjustments for Michael Conlan. We knew he is a local hero and is strong, fast with good footwork. We knew he would be tough and had to look in the first round to see his plan.

“He’s a southpaw and the facts are that we got really good southpaw sparring in Las Vegas, similar to Michael Conlan, but could he find similar sparring to Vend? I don’t think so.

“He really wanted this fight to prove to the people he’s a true warrior and champion, so we are really pleased.”

Unification bouts would involved match-ups against newly crowned WBA champ Leigh Wood 27-3 (16), WBC boss Rey Vargas 36-1 (22) and WBO kingpin Robeisy Ramirez 12-1 (7).

“I hope all the world champions [in] the featherweight division are ready for ‘Venado’ Lopez,” Lopez said. “I’m coming for all of them. I want all their belts. One by one, I’m taking all their belts with me to Mexico.”