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The Pride of Ireland: Michael Conlan


The Pride of Ireland: Michael Conlan
By: Francisco Martinez

St. Patrick’s Day only comes once a year and this year you can bank on it that Michael Conlan’s debut will be one not to forget as the start of a promising career officially begins. Michael, or Mick, Micky as some call him enjoyed his 1st U.S. media day in Los Angeles, California but definitely not new to this media attention “I’m used to it. I like it. It’s just natural for me. It’s another part of the game and you got to enjoy what you do”

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With an estimate of 2 thousand family, friends, fans and supporters making the trip for Michael Conlan’s massive debut in the Theater at the Madison Square Garden this is what Conlan says they can expect from his pro debut “I’m gonna give them some entertainment. Some excitement and a happy ending and a nice party after” making it sound more like a concert than a boxing fight as the charismatic Conlan plans to treat his family and friends to an unforgettable March 17th Top Rank promotions show in New York.

Not even 1 fight into their careers, Michael Conlan & Shakur Stevenson already seem to be in a crash course to a mega showdown as promoter, the legendary Bob Arum is aiming for with his two new young guns who became part of Arum’s young stable additions to the likes of WBO 126lbs champion Oscar Valdez, WBO 122lbs champion Jessie Magdaleno, who both Conlan and Stevenson have sparred and WBO 168lbs champion Gilberto Zurdo Ramirez. BoxingInsider picked the brains of both Conlan & Stevenson just to see where they stand on this little rivalry that has been sparked by their promoter Bob Arum.

“I feel like me and Michael Conlan have some unfinished business that we didn’t get to handle in Brazil so, Michael Conlan is a great fighter and I like his style. I love his boxing style he a technician also and the fans are gonna want to see that, so…” says the young enthusiastic 2016 Olympic silver medalist, Shakur Stevenson. Kind but competitive words of his rival Michael Conlan who replied by saying “He’s a nice respectful kid. It’s a potential fight and I’m happy with that. That’s good for me down the line that’s a money fight. Everybody is in this business to make money so that’s a fight I would want. I rate him as a fighter and he’s a real good fighter. Very skillful so, it’s a fight that I really want and I’m really happy he signed with Top Rank so it’s possible for a future fight”

Conlan goes on to systematically break down Stevenson’s style “He’s very defensive. He’s a box fighter. More defensive very up right, shoulder roll kind of stance but I’m sure, I’m confident that I would have beat him in the Olympics. I’m confident I’ll beat him now. I’m confident I’ll beat him in the future so no matter what happens I’ll be ready when the time comes. I got the best team around me. The best management team, the best promotional team and the best coaching team so I have nothing to fear. I’m ready for anyone so bring it on”

In regards to St. Patrick’s Day being an Irish exclusive holiday and time of celebration it’s a no brainer that his debut will benefit from this Irish contingency as Michael Conlan would like to make this date an annual date in his career a lot like when Floyd Mayweather Jr. took over the Mexican dates of May & September. Dates that now belong to Saul Canelo Alvarez. Conlan says “I want to hold St. Patrick’s Day in the Garden every single year. That’s what I want, I want that to be my day and this is the start of it and it will continue. I feel it’s probably the best day in the year to fight in the Garden and maybe 2 years, 3 years time we’ll be fighting in the big Garden and that’s my aim. I want to sell it out in a world title”

Most should be informed by now that Michael Conlan has the co-sign of the great MMA fighter and fellow Irish countryman in Conor McGregor who will walk him out for his pro debut upon the request of Conlan who McGregor was kind enough to accommodate for his wishes. Conlan first came across McGregor by helping him select sparring for one of his fights with Nate Diaz. Now if we dig a little deeper into this friendship between Conlan & McGregor we’ll find a little truth to the so much talked about dream showdown between McGregor and Mayweather.

A fight that has grasp the attention of both sports and Mayweather who’s really pushing for this fight as he sees some serious dollar signs at the end of this tunnel. Perhaps a bigger pay day than a rematch with Manny Pacquiao and a bigger pay day than the actual 1st fight with Pacquiao which netted Mayweather something along the lines of $300 million. Even though some are critical of this possible circus act that will surely entertain we’re not sure how much this fight is really possible. However rumors as of late say the T-Mobile arena in Las Vegas has been put on hold which only makes this dream scenario a more concrete one than ever before.

Michael Conlan shares a little insight as to who Conor McGregor is as a person and a little on how McGregor feels about a potential bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. “He’s a guy who believes in his ability and if he gets the Mayweather fight 100% he believes he’ll win” as for possibly helping McGregor prepare for a fight inside of the ring other than the octagon Conlan said he wouldn’t sparr him “He’s too big. He’s like 170lbs at the minute or 180lbs. He’s a big man. His hands are like two sizes bigger than mine”

Michael Conlan previewed his speed, power & skills in front of dozens of media members and from what we saw the talent level in him is an extraordinary one. Great chemistry with trainer Manny Robles. Both being fond of each other as they competed in the World Boxing Series a few years back and managed to catch each other’s attention with their respective abilities as trainer and fighter. Fast forward a few years later now both a team and one that will surely be a great hit and formula for great success in boxing.

Tune in March 17th live in the Theater at the Madison Square Garden in New York, St. Patrick’s Day for the massive debut of this young future legend, the pride of Ireland, Michael Conlan.

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“Irish” Jack O’Halloran – From Boxer to Hollywood Actor!


“Irish” Jack O’Halloran – From Boxer to Hollywood Actor!
By: Ken Hissner

Jack “The Giant” O’Halloran was born in Philadelphia and though ending up in Runnemede, NJ, for the most part before returning to Philadelphia now at age 73. At 6:06 he was one of the tallest boxers from 1966 to 1974. In his second bout and the first in Philadelphia he stopped Bob Hazelton who was 6:07 in the first round. After leaving the Philadelphia area after 4 fights he moved onto the Boston area to continue his career.

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O’Halloran was 15-0-1 in his first 16 fights but ended up 34-21-2 (17) after stepping up with the likes of George Foreman, Ken Norton, Mac Foster, Joe Bugner, Cleveland Williams, Al “Blue” Lewis and Ron Lyle. He defeated Williams and Lewis. He also defeated the brother of Muhammad Ali Rahman Ali. He defeated world title challengers Terry Daniels and Manuel Ramos.

“Ali called me up and said you are fighting my brother Rahman. He is embarrassing me so I want you to make sure he never fights again”. O’Halloran knocked him out in the 8th round in San Diego. It was the last time the 14-3-1 Ali ever fought again and the first time he was ever knocked out.

O’Halloran came close to fighting Muhammad Ali 3 or 4 times. He claims “Smokin” Joe Frazier would not spar with him or contender Leotis Martin. When I took the Lewis fight on short notice.

When his trainer Manny Steward came into the gym and saw me spar I heard him say “I think we are in trouble” and they were. He said the hardest he was ever hit was by Cleveland “Big Cat” Williams though he went on to win a decision.

O’Halloran fought 4 times in the UK defeating Danny McAlindin, 11-0, who also defeated Ali’s brother. He beat Welsh boxer Carl Gizzi, 30-4, lost to Bugner, 15-1, and Jack Bodell, 54-10. He lost to Joe Roman, 18-5-1, in PR and drew with Jimmy Richards, 5-0-1, in South Africa.
O’Halloran was inducted into the California Hall of fame in 2009. He held the California State title. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame in 2014. He retired from boxing in 1974 to start his acting career in 1975. He played ex-convict Moose Malloy in the 1975 film “Farewell, My Lady”, featuring Robert Mitchum as private eye Philip Marlowe. He appeared in “King Kong” in 1976, “March or Die” in 1977, “Superman” in 1978, “The Baltimore Bullet”, in 1980, “Superman II” in 1980, Dragnet” in 1987, “Hero and the Terror” in 1988, “Mob Boss” in 1990, and the “Flintstones” in 1994.
O’Halloran also appeared in TV programs like “Diagnosis Murder” on CBS 1993-2001 and “Perry Mason: the Case of the Defiant Daughter” on NBC 1990-1991. Then there was “Cannon”, “Hunter”, “Murder, She Wrote” and “Knight Rider”. He produced “The List” (Freeform) 2006-2007.

In 1969 O’Halloran knocked out Manuel Ramos in L.A. and was a ranked contender when he was offered a part in “The Great White Hope” with James Earl Jones and turned it down due to his boxing career. As recently as 2010 O’Halloran became a best-selling author with his novel “Family Legacy”.

Per NJ BHOF President Henry Hascup in November of 2014 O’Halloran was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame. There were approximately 550 people there for their 45th Induction. It was the largest crowd since 1989.

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Michael Conlan: Luck of the Irish


Michael Conlan: Luck of the Irish
By: Francisco Martinez

Bronze medalist and 2x Olympian amateur standout Michael Conlan debuts March 17th in New York at the Madison Square Garden on a Friday that so happens to land on a St. Patrick’s Day but this time around as we tap into our inner Irishman and drink a pint or two we will be treated to a memorable Top Rank promotions event. Headlined by the young lad Conlan who many remember from this past year’s 2016 Olympics in Rio De Janeiro where Conlan was favored to bring back gold to his home country of Belfast, Northern Ireland but instead the young Irish hopeful saw his dreams of Olympic gold shattered in what he felt was a decision influenced by AIBA corruption.

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Now the highly touted Top Rank promotions signee sets his eyes on a road to a different kind of gold. A world title that former pugilist and now Conlan’s manager Matthew Macklin expects from his young eccentric fighter “I think Michael will go all the way. Guaranteed he’d be world champion. He’s a special talent and I think by the people at Top Rank he’ll be maneuvered into a PPV star” high expectations not just from his manager but his brother as well, current WBO Inter-Continental 115lbs champ Jamie Conlan “I get more nervous for him than when I fight myself. It’s because it’s outta my control. I do believe he is the best fighter in the world. He was the best amateur in the world. He’s just now coming, he’s a rookie in the pros but he’s come to the right man who’s gonna bring him along perfectly. I believe in Manny (Robles) and what I’ve learned in these 3 weeks or more, over 3 weeks of being out here (in Los Angeles) in their environment is that he certainly in the right hands. In really good hands with Manny who’s not gonna rush him. He is building him along perfectly and slowly but surely will mature him into a world champion”

Being about 5 thousand miles away from home Michael Conlan is not too far from his comfort zone having been joined by fellow lads in brother Jamie Conlan, Tyrone McKenna & 2 time Olympic bronze medalist Paddy Barnes who are set to fight on February 18th along with his fiancé & daughter who are key to his journey as a fighter “It’s great having them here it does make me feel at home…my fiancé & daughter are here and for me that’s very important. I don’t think I would be able to be on this journey without them. Having them here it’s very important to me”

BoxingInsider.com: “Being from Ireland how have you adapted now here in California? How do you take to the change? The Culture?”

Michael Conlan: “Its great. I think since I’ve started working with Manny since November, when we got together I think it was instant. A great connection right away. It usually takes me a long time to get used to a new coach but with Manny I was ready. The first day I was in the gym I felt we were used to each other already so that was great for me. The lifestyle out here you can’t beat it. It’s the sun. Once you wake up to the sunny weather it’s a lot easier than when you are in Ireland waking up to rain everyday or else a cold morning. So when you wake up to the sun you’re always gonna be happy so I’m happy to be here”

BoxingInsider.com: “Manny do you feel the same about the connection with Michael?”

Manny Robles: “Absolutely, absolutely. He’s a kid that is humble. Very important in a individual. This kid is a good kid. We’re dealing with a good boxer but more important than anything else more important than dealing with a good boxer is we’re dealing with a good human being. It’s always nice to be around talent of course. Talented fighters like Michael but now that I’ve had a chance to meet his dad (who came from Ireland) I can understand why he’s such a good kid. His dad has done a great job raising him and keeping him grounded. That’s the most important thing. Everything else, the talent is extra”

Michael Conlan: “Fighting is (the) fun time. This is (the) hard work. Fighting is where we go and have fun and we do what we have practiced. What we put into practice and we get the victory we’ll enjoy it. Unlike when you gotta wake up and your body is in pain and you come in here and Manny beats the shit outta you on the pads. That’s the hard work. That’s where it all stems from you know. When you have a good coach like him pushing you every single day what more do you want?”

After a controversial decision in Rio 2016 that shattered his dreams of Olympic gold Michael Conlan expressed his even more controversial thoughts & emotions regarding the judges questionable decision by calling them “cheats” & “cheating bastards” which only made matters worse as the AIBA in return hitting him with a hefty fine of €9,300 euros. These past Olympics also saw the removable of a combined 36 referees & judges pending an internal investigation that lasted about a 4 month period . Having had his differences with AIBA Conlan had this to say about the final results of the AIBA investigation claiming no foul play.

“I think it’s shit to be honest. I think it’s bullshit because the judges are still sacked. They’re not coming back. I think they have found something but they don’t want to admit wrong doing cause it opens up, it kind of ruins it for everybody”

For those casual boxing fans who don’t know Michael Conlan’s style or have never seen him fight manager Matthew Macklin describes him as a complete fighter as he goes on to say “I think he’s a pretty complete fighter. He can box, that’s probably his best attribute he’s a really good boxer. He’s really smart. He’s tall for his weight. He hits quite hard but he can also sit in the pocket and fight in the inside and his experience and his self belief. He really believes in himself which is key. He really, really does believe in himself and he’s backed it up. He’s a bronze medalist as a 20 year old in the Olympics. He was commonwealth (games) gold medalist. European (amateur championships) gold medalist and best boxer of the tournament, world amateur champion. He should’ve won the gold medal, we believe in Rio. He lost out in the quarter finals to a very, very bad decision. So his international experience is 2nd to none and he has the right team around him. He’s got a great stable here at the rock gym (in Carson, CA) great sparring, Oscar Valdez (WBO 126lbs champion) Jessie Magdaleno (WBO 122lbs champion) just to name 2. I think everything is going right for him”

There’s high expectations from everyone in Michael Conlan’s team as a whole but it also seems the young lad has gotten the stamp of approval by fellow Irishman UFC PPV star Conor McGregor who promised to carry the Irish flag upon walking him out into the ring for his massive debut. With all this going into Conlan’s pro debut it can only make you anticipate what future plans legendary promoter Bob Arum may have for Conlan given the huge success Arum has had not just with Mexican & American fighters but foreign pugilists as well having produce Manny Pacquiao one of boxing’s biggest PPV stars and Vasyl Lomachenko considered my many to be pound for pound the best fighter alive today. Tune in March 17th St. Patrick’s Day in Manhattan, New York at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, the Mecca Of Boxing for Michael Conlan’s debut set to be Televised on UniMas.

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After A Brilliant Victory, Frampton Publicly Declares He’ll Keep Avoiding Rigondeaux


After A Brilliant Victory, Frampton Publicly Declares He’ll Keep Avoiding Rigondeaux
By: Sean Crose

Why, Carl Frampton, why?

You looked so good on Saturday night against Leo Santa Cruz! Indeed, you looked brilliant. Sure enough, I said aloud that I thought you might be able to actually beat Guillermo Rigondeaux if you two should some way, somehow, get around to actually fighting. You made it clear after beating Santa Cruz convincingly that you still wouldn’t be facing Rigo, however…you just wouldn’t. Fair enough, but make no mistake about it, this avoidance of a gifted foe will follow you around. Count on it.

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For while the internet makes life easier for people, it also makes for longer memories. There will always be a tweet or post out there to remind people that you avoided the best competition available. In short, people won’t forget. Perhaps you don’t care. You indicated after the Santa Cruz fight that you’ve got a family to support, after all, and that you need to focus on money. Again, fair enough, but just remember that you’re making a lot more than the average boxing fan right now. A lot more. You’ve also got the looks and personality to have a successful career around the fight game after you retire – so long, of course, as you keep your brains about you.

Oh, and claiming you don’t want to fight Rigo because the match will be boring is lame. Honestly, it sounds like a cop out. Saying, as you did, that you “would fight anyone,” except that you “want to be involved in exciting fights,” smells, frankly, like a duck. Sure, Rigo can be boring. Really boring. Every honest person can admit as much – but he’s in your general weight realm and most think he’s better than you. Although that puts you in a sticky position, it is what it is.

Look, there’s a lot to like about you, Carl Frampton. You’re a gentleman and you’re a hell of a fighter – two things boxing always needs. There’s no doubt you’re physically brave, but it looks like you’ve got a world class case of career fear, even now, during what may well be your crowning ring achievement. And while it’s true there’s good reason for you to have that uneasiness, you’re a professional boxer and professional boxers don’t look good when they obviously avoid tough competition. That’s even true in this day and age.

Again, it’s easy to sympathize with you on this, Carl. For Rigo is indeed the ultimate high risk, low reward opponent. You’re an athlete, however, and an athlete who avoids a legitimate challenge tarnishes his legacy. And that’s something to think about.

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