Michael Conlan: Belfast featherweight to fight Ruben Garcia Hernandez in Madison Square Garden

Michael Conlan
Conlan won his first professional belt in December by beating Jason Cunningham at Manchester Arena

Belfast featherweight Michael Conlan is aiming for 11 straight professional career wins when he faces Mexican Ruben Garcia Hernandez in a 10-round bout at Madison Square Garden on Sunday.

Undefeated Conlan, 27, is fighting in the Hulu Theatre on St Patrick's Day for the third year in a row as he builds towards a world title challenge.

The Irish boxer made his pro debut at the New York venue two years ago.

Paddy Barnes faces Oscar Mojica over six rounds on the bill's undercard.

The Belfast flyweight is returning to the ring for the first time since his defeat to Cristofer Rosales in a WBC world title fight at Windsor Park seven months ago.

Former Olympic bronze medallist Conlan picked up the vacant WBO inter-continental title when defeating Jason Cunningham in December at the Manchester Arena.

His opponent has suffered three defeats in 29 professional outings - two of those coming against world champions Nonito Donaire and Randy Caballero, and the other at the hands of Rafael Rivera, who recently went the distance with WBA featherweight title holder Leo Santa Cruz.

Garcia Hernandez, 25, who has also drawn two of his contests, lost on points to four-weight world champion Donaire in September 2017.

After the Garcia Hernandez fight it is likely that Conlan will return to his native west Belfast to headline a show at this year's Féile an Phobail.

Russian Vladamir Nikitin, who like Conlan is signed to US promoter Top Rank, is tipped as a potential opponent for the summer bout.

Conlan has been consistently voiced his desire to take on the Russian following his controversial exit from the 2016 Olympics at the hands of Nikitin, who will also have a six-rounder on the St Patrick's Day New York bill.

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