Michael Conlan to fight on St. Patrick’s Day at MSG for third straight year

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Featherweight Michael Conlan (right) vs. Nicola Cipolletta. Photo credit: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

For the third straight year, Michael Conlan will fight on St. Patrick’s Day in New York City.

The unbeaten featherweight will face Ruben Garcia Hernandez on Mar. 17 inside the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden.

The Conlan-Garcia fight will headline a Top Rank card that will stream on ESPN+, beginning at 3 p.m. ET/ noon PT. The fight card will begin following the conclusion of the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Conlan (10-0, 6 knockouts) made his pro debut with much fanfare two years ago at the same venue, where a crowd of over 5,100, including UFC star Conor McGregor, watched the 2016 Olympian beat Tim Ibarra in the third round. One year later, Conlan battered David Berna, dropping him twice before the fight was stopped in the second round.

The 27-year-old Conlan is eager to fight before a large, partisan crowd, one that will look forward to another knockout win.

“I’m excited and honored to fight at my home away from home, The Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden, on St. Patrick’s Day for the third consecutive year,” said the 27-year-old Conlan. “The fans in New York City have been incredibly supportive of my professional career, and I look forward to putting on a show for them, in addition to my great fans from Ireland who will be coming over for the party in Manhattan.

“Thanks very much to my team and Top Rank for this tremendous opportunity. I’ll be well-prepared for victory to kick off a huge year for me in 2019.”

In his last bout on Dec. 22 in Manchester, Conlan won a 10-round unanimous decision over Jason Cunningham.

Garcia (24-3-2, 10 KOs), who is originally from Mexico City and now resides in Cancun, is unbeaten his last three fights since his unanimous decision loss to Nonito Donaire in September of 2017.

In his last bout on Dec. 22, the 25-year-old Garcia fought to a majority decision draw against Marlembron Acuna.

In the co-feature, former WBO junior featherweight titleholder Jessie Magdaleno will square off against former world title challenger Christopher Diaz.

The 10-round featherweight bout is a crossroads clash between Magdaleno and Diaz, who is moving down in weight from 130 pounds.

Magdaleno (25-1, 18 KOs), who resides in Las Vegas, has not fought since losing the WBO junior featherweight title to Isaac Dogboe on Apr. 28. The southpaw Magdaleno dropped Dogboe, but was dropped in round five and twice more in round 11 before the bout was stopped.

Diaz (24-1, 16 KOs) fought in one of the more memorable bouts in 2018, losing a hard-fought unanimous decision to Masayuki Ito on July 28. Both were fighting for the vacant WBO junior lightweight title.

Diaz, who resides in Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, returned to the ring on Nov. 24, knocking out David Berna in the opening round.

In welterweight action, Luis Collazo (38-7, 20 KOs) will face Samuel Vargas (30-4-2, 14 KOs) in a 10-round bout. Collazo grew up in the nearby borough of Brooklyn.

In preliminary action, former IBF junior featherweight titleholder Jonathan Guzman (23-1, 22 KOs) will square off against Mexico’s Mario Alberto Diaz (18-2, 7 KOs) in a 10-round bout.

Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @FSalazarBoxing.

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