Thankfully for Michael Conlan, his backward fall from the ring March 12 looked worse than it was.
Jamie Conlan, Michael’s brother and manager, was able to catch the vulnerable featherweight contender before he crashed to the cement floor at Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham, England. The chaotic scene at ringside after Wood knocked Conlan out of the ring in the 12th round made it appear as though Conlan suffered severe damage from his fall through the middle ropes.
In accordance with British Boxing Board of Control rules, Conlan underwent tests at a local hospital, but he was released several hours after arriving. Belfast’s Conlan didn’t sustain any serious injuries and will return to the ring rather quickly Saturday night after partaking in such a difficult, back-and-forth fight with Wood (26-2, 16 KOs), the Nottingham native who retained his WBA world featherweight title by knocking out Conlan (16-1, 8 KOs).
“Nothing happened to me when I fell out of the ring,” Conlan told BoxingScene.com in advance of his fight against Miguel Marriaga in Belfast. “It was much more drama than what happened than anything. My brother actually caught me when I was falling, so it kind of, you know, saved me a little bit because it could’ve been some serious damage done there. But I went to the hospital for the checks, which you always have to do. It’s mandatory, so I went and did the checks. I was good to go and I was released. So, it wasn’t like I was there for days or anything. I was there for a few hours to get checked and was released.
“But yeah, the days following it was hard to take. And it was annoying at the same time because there was much more of a fuss made of what happened and much more of a panic made by kind of the medical staff at that time, when I kind of went out of the ring. It was made much worse than what it was, so I had to kind of let everyone know that I was OK. But I seen people writing, ‘He died,’ and all this stuff, which was crazy.”
Jamie Conlan can be seen softening his brother’s fall by reacting quickly once Wood’s right hand knocked Conlan unconscious very late in a fight Conlan was winning on all three scorecards entering the 12th round.
Though he was knocked out of the ring and was dealt his first professional defeat, the 30-year-old Conlan contends that Wood was worse off after their fight. Wood won, but he left an arena full of his hometown fans with a cut, bruises and marks on his face.
“I was just fortunate that my brother was that close and able to catch me because obviously there could’ve been some serious damage done,” Conlan said. “But yeah, it looked much worse than what it was, and I understand why people would’ve been saying what they were saying and thinking what they were thinking, that there was some serious damage done. But it actually wasn’t. Even the punch that done it, that was probably the only significant punch that Leigh landed. So, I didn’t take that much damage throughout that fight, where Leigh took a lot of damage.”
Northern Ireland’s Conlan completed an 11-week training camp for his 12-round fight with Colombia’s Marriaga. Caesars Sportsbook lists Conlan as a 12-1 favorite to beat Marriaga (30-5, 26 KOs) in a 12-round main event ESPN+ will stream in the United States and fite.tv will stream for £6.50 in the United Kingdom and Ireland from The SSE Arena Belfast.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.