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MICHAEL CONLAN fighting at Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day is fast becoming a fixture in the boxing calendar. On Sunday (March 17) Conlan shut out Ruben Garcia Hernandez over 10 rounds, winning 100-90 for all three judges.
“I think I just used my skills as I said I would. I think I showed a lot of good defensive movements and things I’ve been working on. We were in no rush to try and take out this guy. He’s tough. He went the distance with [Nonito] Donaire and a few other top fighters. He had a tough head on him. There were a few times I probably could’ve stepped on it, but we wanted to practice things we’ve been working on. I felt I did that tonight,” Conlan said.
His trainer Adam Booth added, “These are developmental rounds that will help him become a world champion. I am very pleased with what I saw in there. He is working on exactly what we are practicing in the gym, and it’s working.”
Conlan is setting his immediate sights on vengeance. He wants to box Vladimir Nikitin in the professional game. The Russian took a controversial decision to eliminate Conlan from the last Olympic Games. The Belfast man declared, “Vladimir, I know you’re here tonight. We need to do it again for the fans. I need to right a wrong that shouldn’t have been written.”
On the undercard Nikitin took a six-round majority decision over Juan Tapia.
There was however a shock for Conlan’s Irish Olympic team mate Paddy Barnes. He lost a split decision to Oscar Mojica. Barnes sunk to the canvas after a body shot in the second round, although it wasn’t ruled a knockdown. Paddy will consider retirement after this defeat. “In the first round, he broke my nose. And to be honest, I don’t know how the judges scored it close because I thought he won every round,” Barnes said frankly.