Wayne McCullough: Michael Conlan can go 'to the top' of the pro ranks

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Michael Conlan can go to the top - Wayne McCullough

Michael Conlan's switch to a different trainer should not hamper his progress towards a world title says fellow Northern Irishman Wayne McCullough.

Conlan joined forces with London-based trainer Adam Booth this year after he split with US coach Manny Robles.

McCullough, who took a similar route to Conlan by turning professional in the United States, has been impressed by the former world amateur champion.

"He's progressing through the pro ranks well" said the ex-WBC world champion.

"He's got a good following over here [in the USA], and has good training camps and sparring. He has the experience and he can go to the top."

Conlan has fought twice since his switch to Booth's stable, taking just four minutes to beat David Berna of Hungary in March before earning a unanimous decision against Spaniard Ibon Larrinaga in May to continue his perfect start to the professional ranks.

Six of the 2012 Olympic bronze medallist's seven pro fights so far have been in the United States with the other on the undercard to Manny Pacquiao's 2017 defeat by Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia.

The Belfast featherweight is now preparing for a homecoming fight when he faces Adeilson Dos Santos at the SSE Arena on 30 June.

"He had a trainer for his first few fights and now has another coach so I hope they don't disrupt things," added McCullough.

"He needed to learn defence. The way I did when I came here."

Conlan beat Ibon Larrinaga of Spain in May to win his seventh consecutive professional bout
Conlan beat Ibon Larrinaga of Spain in May to win his seventh consecutive professional bout

Vegas world title shot

McCullough, 47, is also pleased to see Conlan's promoters Top Rank staging a bill in Belfast, but wants him to return to America to pursue a possible world title fight in Las Vegas.

"Top rank are a good team, they built up Oscar del a Hoya," said the 47-year-old.

"Conlan's getting good money and now it's great they will go home to his home town.

"But it's also hard when you come over here and get a fan base and then have to go home because people over here can forget you quickly.

"So hopefully he'll be back soon because people are talking about him here."

Carl Frampton is expected to fight Australian Luke Jackson at Windsor Park on 18 August
Carl Frampton is expected to fight Australian Luke Jackson at Windsor Park on 18 August

Belfast boxing scene

McCullough is also thrilled to see the resurgence of the Belfast boxing scene in recent years.

Conlan's homecoming bout will be followed later this summer by Carl Frampton's long-awaited Windsor Park fight in August.

"Carl's in a position now he can beat any of the guys [in the featherweight division]," added the 1992 Olympic silver medallist.

"The only guy who is a real big puncher is Gary Russell Jnr. but he only fights once a year so nobody is really touching him."

He also thinks Frampton should get another rematch with Leo Santa Cruz.

"I was at the fight last week when Leo Santa Cruz beat Abner Mares and I was glad Mares lost, as it puts Carl back in the picture to get the third fight.

"He deserves that fight and the trilogy bout has to happen.

"Of course, I think Carl would beat him."

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