Michael Conlon Shines in Pro Debut on St. Paddy’s Day in New York City
By Vladimir Lik
2016 Irish Olympic star longed for a knockout in his professional debut at New York City’s Madison Square Garden and on St. Patrick’s Day no less. The 25-year-old Conlon had everything in working order for him to put on a great show. There was a packed theatre of over 5,000 spectators-a sell out in the theatre at The Garden, many of whom traveled from Ireland to see their Olympic hero live and in person. Also, Conlan had none other than UFC superstar Conor McGregor leading him to the ring wearing a custom-fitted suit under a fur coat.
Conlon (1-0, 1 KO) did not disappoint McGregor or the adoring fans decked out in St. Patty’s green as he stopped Tim Ibarra (4-5, 1 KO) in the third round. The official time of the stoppage was 2:42.
The 25-year-old Belfast native looked every bit the professional as he shook off the nerves to move well in the first round and work behind a snapping, stiff jab to keep Ibarra guessing and off balance.
Prior the bout McGregor assured Conlon “This is your night, stay calm in this chaos and control the chaos.”
Conlon started letting go of the power shots in the second round landing cleanly on Denver, Colorado’s Ibarra who used his time during fight week to marry his girlfriend. As Ibarra tried to find ways to get on the inside of Conlon, the Irish fighter make good use of his feet to side step away causing Ibarra to fall off-balance into the ropes.
Conlon mixed in some body shots in the third round to hurt Ibarra and cause him to go on the defensive and cover up. With the crowd’s roar growing louder, Conlon doubled and tripped up on his combinations and threw a barrage of punches causing referee Benji Estevez to jump in to halt the bout.
Conlon, who won the 2015 123 pound world amateur championship and the bronze medal at 114 pounds at the 2012 London Games made headlines last summer at the Olympic games in Rio De Janeiro. After losing the decision in the quarterfinals against Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin in the bantamweight quarterfinals Conlon launched into profanity-laced tirade ripping the judges at ringside and entire governing body the AIBA. Conlon’s double-middle finger salute was one of the most viewed images of the summer games.
Following this successful debut Conlon’s promoter vows to bring him back to New York City next St. Patrick’s Day.
Unbeaten junior welterweight contender Alex Saucedo (24-0, 15 KOs) scored a second round TKO victory over Johnny Garcia (19-4-1, 11 KOs). The official time of the stoppage was 2:42.
Saucedo, from Oklahoma City, got off to a roaring start hurting the Michigan native with a stinging combination, which Garcia was not ready for. Garcia was dropped with a huge overhand right which nearly sealed the victory for Saucedo but Garcia made it up to his feet to survive the round. Saucedo wa able to capitalize on the fact that Garcia was unable to recover between the rounds and Saucedo applied the pressure to cause referee Steve Smoger to jump in to save Garcia and end the bout.
2016 Olympic Gold medal winner from Brazil Robson Conceicao (3-0, 2 KO) defeated Cincinnati’s Aaron Hollis (4-4, 2 KOs) by second round knockout. The official time of the stoppage was 36 seconds of the second round.
The 28-year-old Conceicao blitzed through Hollis landing looping and chopping power shots that found a home and hurt the overmatched Hollis.
Jose Gonzalez (7-0, 1KO) remained unbeaten by defeating Jhovany Collado (4-12, 2 KOs) by six-round unanimous decision. The official scores at ringside were 60-53 x 3.
Gonzalez dropped Collado once in the bout thanks his fast hands and good footwork. Collado was hurt several times in the third but managed survive and did just enough the bout to keep from being stopped.
Alexander Picot (2-2-1) scored a unanimous decision victory over Ben Garcia (1-2, 1 KO). The official scores at ringside were 40-35, 38-37 x 2. The Puerto Rican Picot dropped Garcia in the second en route to a one sided decision.
Lightweight prospect Teofimo Lopez (3-0, 3 KOs) defeated Daniel Bastien (4-3, 1
- KO) of Mexico by second round knockout. The official time of the stoppage was 39 seconds of round two. Lopez unloaded a series of body shots on the Mexican Bastien who kneeled over and dropped to the canvas. Bastien attempted to get back up but could not beat the count.
Lopez, who now resides in Davie, Florida represented his parents’ home country of Honduras at 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
In the opening bout of the evening Larry Fryers (3-0, 1 KOs) defeated Gabriel Solorio (2-4-1) by unanimous decision. The official scores at ringside were 40-35 x 3. Fryers, from Clones, Ireland, dominated the four round bout and dropped Solorio in the first round. The welterweight prospect from Ireland was a step quicker than his opponent from Washington State.