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  • Celtic View 20-01-08
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  • Celtic View exclusive: Boxer Michael Conlan on his love for the Hoops

    Celtic View exclusive: Boxer Michael Conlan on his love for the Hoops

    By: Tony Connelly on 13 Dec, 2019 14:01

  • IRISH boxer Michael Conlan will once again proclaim his love for Celtic when he makes his way to the ring this weekend at Madison Square Garden for one of the most important fights of his professional career.

    The WBO and WBA Inter-Continental featherweight champion will look to extend his professional record to 13-0 this Saturday (December 14) when he comes up against old foe Vladimir Nikitin in New York.

    Conlan, born and raised in Belfast, has been a Celtic fan his whole life and the 28-year-old regularly makes his ring walk to the songs he so closely associates with Paradise and Ireland.

    Earlier this year he fought in his hometown and said walking to the ring in Falls Park with ‘Grace’ and ‘Let the People Sing’ playing was one of the best moments of his life.

    “Walking out there in front of 10,000 plus in a park which I grew up, where I had many unpaid fights in the past, to ‘Grace’ was amazing,” Conlan told the Christmas issue of the Celtic View. “I knew how everybody would react, and then when ‘Let the People Sing’ kicked in, the whole place went buck mad.

    “It’s very hard to explain how I felt walking out to that. If I’m honest, it was the best sporting experience of my whole life. Obviously, having kids is different because that’s really personal but in terms of my career that experience was undoubtedly the best ever.

    “I’ve been a Celtic fan all my life. The songs that are sung in Celtic Park are close to my heart and close to every Celtic fan’s heart. The fact that I’m able to play them in a boxing atmosphere means a lot to me. You can see how attached people are to those songs and how they affect them emotionally.”

    Conlan had a stellar amateur career with a bronze in the London 2012 Olympics, Commonwealth Gold at Glasgow in 2014, the European championship in 2015 the amateur world championship the same year.

    The Irishman was robbed of more Olympic glory at Rio 2016 with a shocking decision from judges going against him. He let the officials know of his anger before going on a now infamous seething rant about the corruption of amateur boxing when talking to broadcaster RTE.

    Having made a phenomenal start to his professional career three years ago, Conlan is now on the brink of a world title shot but, before he turns his attention to more accolades, the Belfast boxer has a score to settle this Saturday with a familiar Russian.

    “I’m fighting Vladimir Nikitin on December 14 at Madison Square Garden,” said Conlan. “This is my chance at redemption for the decision in Rio. It’ll be the third time fighting him. He beat me twice in the amateurs.

    "No matter what anybody says and regardless of what we and everybody else thinks, the guy’s hand has been raised twice when facing me. I can’t go into this thinking it’s a foregone conclusion and that I’m going to come in, win and fix this storyline.

    “My training camp has gone well and I’ve had some phenomenal sparring parterns so I’m going in ready and I know what I need to do.”

    For the full and exclusive interview with Michael Conlan on boxing and his love for Celtic, pick up the Christmas bumper issue of the Celtic View. On sale now.

    To download a digital version of the magazine, click on the banner below. 

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