Thursday, August 4th 2022

Press Conference Notes: Michael Conlan Set for Belfast Homecoming Versus Miguel Marriaga

Streaming LIVE and exclusively on ESPN+ SATURDAY @ The SSE Arena

BELFAST (Aug. 4 2022) — You can always come home. Michael “Mick” Conlan, a two-time Irish Olympian and the fighting pride of Belfast, returns to the ring Saturday in the 10-round featherweight main event against three-time title challenger Miguel Marriaga at The SSE Arena.

Conlan (16-1, 8 KOs) is back following his Fight of the Year in March against WBA featherweight world champion Leigh Wood. Wood, who was behind on all three scorecards, knocked out Conlan in a dramatic 12th round to retain his belt. Conlan hopes to rebound in his hometown, where he has headlined in front of sold-out crowds three times before.

Marriaga (30-5, 26 KOs), from Colombia, is an iron-fisted contender who has shared the ring with Vasiliy Lomachenko, Oscar Valdez and Nicholas Walters. He is 1-2 in his last three bouts, and at 35, a victory over Conlan would propel him back into title contention.

A loaded fight card, headlined by Conlan-Marriaga, will stream live on ESPN+ at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT. Irish welterweight sensation Paddy “Real Deal” Donovan (8-0, 6 KOs), rising featherweight Kurt Walker (2-0, 1 KO), and junior middleweight standout Kieran Molloy (1-0, 1 KO) will see action in separate bouts.

UK and Irish fans can catch the card on FITE TV.

At Thursday’s press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Michael Conlan

“I want to get back in the world title mix as soon as I possibly can, and I thought Miguel Marriaga would be the perfect kind of guy, perfect statement to make that. Thank you to Miguel for coming. I think he’s a fantastic fighter, a very tough opponent, a very tough pick for a comeback fight. But in my opinion, the perfect one because I want to show my level. I obviously was 90 seconds away, whatever it was {against Leigh Wood}, but I know how good I can be. I know what I have left to give. I believe for me to get back {to title contention}, I didn’t need anybody easy. I wanted someone hard and an opponent who’s going to push me. And I believe Miguel is.”

“If you watch any of his fights, the only person to take him out is Lomachenko, and that was more his corner stopping the fight, not so much himself. I know he’s a tough dude. He will be there for the full 10 rounds. If there’s an opportunity to take him out, I will do that, but I know that he’s a tough guy. He’s high tempo, fast pace, and he will be there for the full distance punching and trying to take your head off. So, I’ve got to be ready. I’ve got to be prepared. I have many different game plans, which flutter about in my head, and I’ll decide in the ring which one I’ll pick.”

Miguel Marriaga

“Thank you to Belfast and Ireland for giving me the opportunity for this fight. I know it’s going to be a very good fight. Michael Conlan is an excellent boxer. I’ve also come well-prepared to make an excellent fight.”

“Obviously, the idea is to come here and win the fight, which is the most important thing.”

Paddy Donovan

“It’s going to be a great fight. Tom {Hill} is a good opponent for me at this stage of my career. I’m ready to put on a great show. I’ve prepared well. I’m in the best shape of my life, so I’m ready to get out there and do a great job on him. I’m very excited to be back here in Belfast. This will be my third time, first time fighting at The SSE Arena. Last year at the Feile {an Phobail} was absolutely brilliant, and the crowd was brilliant. And my debut at Ulster Hall as well. I’m really excited to be back here and really excited to do a great job come Saturday night.”

Kieran Molloy

“I’m just really looking forward to getting out there Saturday. I was lucky enough to be here last year at the Feile. The atmosphere was unbelievable. I’m really excited and proud to be part of it this year. I had a couple of fights fall through pretty recently, but we just regrouped, got back to training, and I’m looking forward to a really good performance come Saturday.”

Kurt Walker

“I think the last time I boxed in Belfast was maybe 2014 in the Ulster Seniors, so to get back here, it’s a great day for me.”

Saturday, August 6

 ESPN+ (2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT)
Michael Conlan vs. Miguel Marriaga, 10 rounds, featherweightTyrone McKenna vs. Chris Jenkins, 10 rounds, welterweight

Kieran Molloy vs. Evgenii Vazem, 6 rounds, junior middleweight

Padraig McCrory vs. Marco Antonio Periban, 10 rounds, McCrory’s WBC International Silver Super Middleweight Title

Kurt Walker vs. Marcos Gabriel Martinez, 6 rounds, featherweight

Paddy Donovan vs. Tom Hill, 8 rounds, welterweight