At the age of 25, Michael is a sensational prospect at 122 pounds. Before his debut, he was an amateur standout at the highest international level, and Ireland’s most decorated amateur boxer ever – a gold medalist at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, the 2015 European Championships and the 2015 World Championships, and a bronze medalist at the 2012 Olympic Games. He also represented Ireland at the 2016 Olympic Games, but was eliminated by extremely controversial scoring in the quarterfinal round.
Michael started his pro career with three knockout wins in four months. He made his pro debut on March 17 at Madison Square Garden in New York and won by third-round TKO against Tim Ibarra. On May 26 in Chicago, Michael won by third-round TKO against Alfredo Chanez.
In his last fight on July 2 in Brisbane, Australia, he won by third-round TKO against Jarrett Owen. The bout was one of the co-features with the Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn main event that drew a crowd of 51,052 to Suncorp Stadium
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported [excerpts]: Featherweight prospect Michael Conlan, the popular Irish Olympic star, easily stopped Brisbane’s Jarrett Owen in the third round of their scheduled six-round bout. All three of Conlan’s victories have come by third-round KO.
Conlan outclassed Owen from start to finish. In the third round, Conlan hurt Owen with a left hand to the body, which was the beginning of the end. He unloaded about 10 unanswered punches, including some fierce right hands to the head, at one point looking to the ref as if to ask him to stop the fight before he really hurt Owen. After Conlan landed a few more shots, [the] referee stepped in to wave it off at 1 minute, 56 seconds, just as Owen’s corner was throwing in the towel.
Conlan made his heavily hyped pro debut on March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day – at the sold-out Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, where his pal Conor McGregor, the UFC superstar, walked him to the ring.
Top Rank was anxious to put Conlan on the Pacquiao-Horn card because Brisbane has a large Irish community, including many members of Conlan’s extended family who moved there seven years ago. [End Rafael item]
In the ring after the fight, Michael said, “It was my best performance as a professional. I feel great about that. I was disciplined and focused on executing the game plan.
“It took me two rounds to find my range and then I was able to settle in and break him down. The body shots were hurting him. I’m so honored to support my country. I want just to make them proud. I’m looking to return to the ring in September.
“Thank you, Brisbane. You have put on a brilliant event.”
After Michael’s debut, Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum said, “I think this kid can be absolutely huge. He excites people. He’s a hardworking guy. He trains every day with world champions. He’s dedicated, he’s making the sacrifices, so I think he’ll be very good.”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Michael said, “I was born and raised in Belfast, Ireland – I’m Irish, so I don’t like to say ‘Northern Ireland.’ I have three brothers, no sisters. My brother, Jamie Conlan, is a professional boxer. [note: Commonwealth super flyweight champion, currently 19-0, 11 KOs] My brother, Brandon, used to box, but not professional, just amateur. My father, John Conlan, was a boxer when he was younger and fought at national level. Now he’s the Irish National boxing coach – he’s been coaching since I started boxing and has coached the national team for about three years. My mother, Teresa, is a student mentor.
“I was seven years of age when I first stepped in the boxing gym. My brothers, Jamie and Brandon, were boxers and like every young kid, I wanted to be like my big brothers. I followed them into the gym, and that was the start of it.
“I think I had around 340 amateur fights. I know I only lost 14. I’m naturally right-handed, but I’m ambidextrous in the ring.
“I’m engaged to be married. My fiancé’s name is Shauna. No date set yet, we’ve been engaged since 2014. I have a daughter, her name is Luisne. [pr. LOOSH-na] It’s Irish for ‘little flame.’ She was two years old on the 23rd of March.
“I haven’t chosen a nickname yet. I’ll let that come from the fans, instead of naming myself.”…
2016 OLYMPIC GAMES – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 123 pounds: in his first fight on 8-14-16 he won a 3-0 decision against Aram Avagyan of Armenia; in the quarterfinals on 8-16-16 he lost a 29-28 decision against Vladimir Nikitin of Russia…
From the Belfast Telegraph, by Steven Beacom [Aug. 20, 2016 – excerpts]: Michael Conlan has become one of the stories of the 2016 Olympic Games after he was the victim of a staggering judging decision in his bantamweight clash with Russian Vladimir Nikitin.
While the fans inside the boxing arena and all those watching on television were convinced that World Amateur Champion Conlan had comfortably won the three-round contest, the judges gave a unanimous verdict to Nikitin, who subsequently was unable to take his place in the semi-final due to injury, having been outclassed by the Team Ireland star.
Understandably, Conlan was furious about the decision and in an RTE television interview immediately after the fight he let rip at the judges and the International Boxing Association (AIBA), the amateur sport’s governing body, claiming the organisation was corrupt and insisting he had been “robbed.”
For the man himself, considered one of Ireland’s finest ever amateur boxers, the pain remains – so much so that he had to leave the Olympic Village.
He hopes his hard-hitting words will make a difference for other amateur boxers in years to come, so that they don’t have to suffer the way he has. “After the fight was over I felt robbed and got a lot off my chest right away,” said the charismatic young man, who was crowned the 2015 Belfast Telegraph Sports Star of the Year.
“I used some crazy words in a television interview immediately afterwards, but I wouldn’t take them back because they were my true emotions at that time. I was honest with myself and honest with every single person who had tuned in to watch.
“If I hadn’t have said what I said I would probably feel even worse now. Seeing the reaction it had in terms of getting a message out there, I am glad that I did it.
“I know some people weren’t happy with the words I used, but that interview and the reaction it has had has opened the eyes of the world to the corruption in amateur boxing. Hopefully, what I have said can change amateur boxing, and what happened to me won’t happen as much to other boxers.”
“In the dressing room, all these people were coming up to me, from the Cuban boxing team to the GB boxing team, and telling me I had won the fight. They were devastated by what happened. All the boxing people knew what went on.”
What has been heartening for the Belfast native has been the incredible support he has received since being cruelly dumped out of a competition he was widely expected to win.
The boxing fraternity has backed him, along with commentators and members of the public, who couldn’t believe that the Russian walked away the victor when it appeared Conlan had won every single round.
Conlan was keen to thank everyone who has been behind him since Tuesday’s travesty.
“The support I have had from everyone has been unbelievable, from people at home to people all over the world, and I can’t thank everyone enough for the way they have supported me,” the boxer told the Belfast Telegraph.
“I want to tell everyone how much their messages and goodwill have meant to me and my family, especially everyone who has been very vocal about the decision and called it how it is.
“It’s good to hear people from within boxing and outside of boxing say that I was robbed because that is exactly what happened.”
Never lacking self-belief, Conlan believes great things lie ahead for him.
Few would disagree. This kid is the real deal.
“I have a massive career ahead of me,” the Belfast man says with the confidence of a champion. [End Beacom item]…
2015 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – Doha, Qatar, 123 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 10-8-15 he won a 2-0 decision against Robenilson de Jesus of Brazil; in the quarterfinals on 10-10-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Tayfur Aliyev of Azerbaijan; in the semifinals on 10-11-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Dmitriy Asanov of Belarus; in the finals on 10-14-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Muradzhon Akhmadaliyev of Uzbekistan…
2015 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS – Samokov, Bulgaria, 123 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 8-10-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Anthony Bret of France; in the quarterfinals on 8-12-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Fredrik Jensen of Denmark; in the semifinals on 8-14-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Francesco Maietta of Italy; in the finals on 8-15-15 he won a 3-0 decision against Qais Ashfaq of England…
2014 COMMONWEALTH GAMES – Glasgow, Scotland, 123 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in his first fight on 7-25-14 he won a 3-0 decision against Matthew Martin of Nauru; in his second fight on 7-28-14 he won a 3-0 decision against Shiva Thapa of India; in the quarterfinals on 7-30-14 he won a 3-0 decision against Bashir Nassir of Uganda; in the semifinals on 8-1-or team he won a 3-0 decision against Sean McGoldrick of Wales; in the finals on 8-2-14 he won a 3-0 decision against Qais Ashfaq of England…
2014 FELIKS STAMM MEMORIAL – Warsaw, Poland, 123 pounds – GOLD MEDALIST: in the quarterfinals (his first fight) on 4-10-14 he won a 3-0 decision against Erzhan Ordabayev of Kazakhstan; in the semifinals on 4-11-14 he won a 3-0 decision against Nikita Fedorchenko of Russia; in the finals on 4-12-14 he won a 3-0 decision against Sylwester Kozłowski of Poland…
2013 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS – Almaty, Kazakhstan, 123 pounds: in his first fight on 10-19-13 he won a 3-0 decision against Krisztian Nagy of Hungary; in his second fight on 10-21-13 he won a 3-0 decision against Brian Gonzalez of Mexico; in the quarterfinals on 10-23-13 he lost a 3-0 decision against Vladimir Nikitin of Russia…
2013 DUALS IRELAND-FRANCE – 114 pounds: in his first fight on 5-3-13 in Cork, Ireland, he won a 25-10 decision against Samuel Kristohurry of France; in his second fight on 5-5-15 in Dublin, Ireland, he won a 25-8 decision against Elias Friha of France…
2012 OLYMPIC GAMES – London, England, 114 pounds – BRONZE MEDALIST: in his first fight on 8-3-12 he won a 19-8 decision against Micah Duke of Ghana; in the quarterfinals on 8-7-12 he won a 22-18 decision against Nordine Oubaali of France; in the semifinals on 8-10-12 he lost a 20-10 decision against Robeisy Ramirez of Cuba…
2010 COMMONWEALTH GAMES – New Delhi, India, 114 pounds: in his first fight on 10-7-10 he had a 10-10 draw, but lost the tiebreaker against Jason Moloney of Australia…