Michael Conlan has rung the changes ahead of his latest assault on the featherweight division. Conlan suffered a stunning fifth round knockout at the hands of IBF featherweight champion, Luis Alberto Lopez, in May but the two-time Olympian remains as determined as ever to win a world title.
Conlan, 31, began his professional career in California with Manny Robles before switching to Adam Booth in Surrey. Now, Conlan heads back across the Atlantic to Miami, where he has entrusted his future to Cuban trainer, Pedro Diaz.
“I’ve picked Pedro Diaz to be my coach. From the time I spent with him, he was the guy who ticked all the boxes,” Conlan told Boxing Social. “He was the one I think is gonna be best matched to my style and also of the same belief as me of how things should move.
It is all change for Conlan who has also agreed an amicable split with his long time promoters, Top Rank. Conlan returns to action under the Matchroom banner on December 2nd. His featherweight fight with former European champion, Jordan Gill, will headline a packed show in Belfast. After weeks of back and forth, Caoimhin Agayarko’s super welterweight fight with Troy Williamson has been agreed, Tyrone McKenna takes on Lewis Crocker in a real crossroads fight at welterweight and Sean McComb and Sam Maxwell will face off at 140lbs.
Conlan (18-2, 9 KO’s) and Gill (27-2-1, 8 KO’s) shared plenty of rounds during the time Conlan spent training with Booth. Gill is a former Commonwealth and European champion but is looking to rebuild from a brutal stoppage defeat himself. Spanish veteran and former two-weight world champion, Kiko Martinez, blitzed Gill inside four rounds last October.
“I’m very excited. Happy to be back and looking forward to putting a show on back in Belfast. It’s certainly the last roll of the dice for Jordan,” Conlan said.
“Sparring is sparring. Would I say I can take confidence from it? Yes, of course. There’s plenty of things I did that give me an outlook of how things can move. I have all the sparring on record and I’ve sent it all to my coach already. We’ll break things down, we’ll watch all his fights and devise a gameplan and take him apart.”
The featherweight scene could be about to shift dramatically. After beating Josh Warrington in thrilling fashion last weekend, WBA champion, Leigh Wood, is set to move up to the super featherweight division and former IBF champion, Warrington, looks likely to follow him after spending his entire career campaigning at nine stone.
A rematch with Wood - who stopped Conlan in the final round of 2022’s Fight of the Year - would provide a high profile payday but, for the moment, the Irishman is intent on chasing a world title rather than revenge.
“I believed I’d be world champion and I still believe I’ll be world champion. It’s just a matter of time. Everything kind of happens for a reason and these type of setbacks happen for a reason. Wait till the end of my career and judge me then.”