As big-time boxing seemed to return in full force this past week, with major cards all over the world, the weekend’s first card produced its best performance. Irish Mick Conlan returned home to Belfast for the first time in two full years and handed in a career-best performance against a former world champion. Mick Conlan returned with a vengeance following his last performance a sub-par majority decision victory over Ionut Baluta a fringe contender. A performance that left the boxing world if Conlon would ever reach his potential and if his more hype than substance. That question was answered Friday in Belfast. Conlan dominated former world champ TJ Doheny to defend the WBA Interim World Featherweight Title, move his record to 16-0 (8), answer the critics, and capture our Fighter of the Week award.
Doheny is going to be a draw on both sides of the Atlantic, he can sell tickets in Ireland as well as in the US. It only makes sense for him to fight for a world title next at Madison Square Garden next Saint Patrick’s Day. The only question is at what weight class? The Irishman has campaigned at both 122 and 126 a world title fight against WBO featherweight champ, Emanuel Navarrete, which would be high level, very competitive and make perfect, and would make perfect sense in the US. Or he could fight newly minted WBA champ Kid Galahad over in Ireland or England. If he wants to go down to 122 where he has campaigned in recently, a fight with unified WBA/IBF 122-pound champ Murodjon Akhmadaliev the other two champs, Brandon Figueroa and Stephen Fulton are fighting each other on September 18 and are on the PBC side of the aisle and may be difficult to work out a fight with.
If Doheny, 22-3 (16) was going to have success and pull the upset against the betting favorite he was going to have to apply constant pressure and slow Conlan down. Doheny attempted to do just that keep the pressure on and trying to cut the ring off on his skilled opponent. However, Irish Mich was able to keep his Australian-based opponent off of him by jabbing and moving and mixing in fierce body shots one of which put Doheny down to the matt with about a minute to go in the fifth. Conlan picked up the pace in an attempt to get his rugged opponent out but Doheny survived and ran on the clock. Doheney got back on track and continued applying pressure but was constantly a step behind. Doheny was able to hear the final bell but the decision was lopsided and clear as Conlan took the unanimous decision by scores of 119-108, 116-111, and 116-111. To pick up the 16th consecutive of his now striving career