'He's a blind face I need to annihilate' - Michael Conlan bullish for Leigh Wood showdown

'It's time to grab my opportunity' - Conlan

Michael Conlan says he's "ready to go" for his WBA featherweight title fight against champion Leigh Wood in Nottingham on 12 March.

The 30-year-old from Belfast gets his shot at the world title after winning all 18 of his fights.

"I don't really know Leigh - I don't have respect for him at the minute until after the fight," said Conlan.

"I don't hate him personally but as a fighter I dislike him. He's a blind face which I need to annihilate."

He added: "The pressure is off me, I'm not the world champion, I'm the underdog. I'm ready to go - I've always said when my opportunity comes I'll grab it with both hands.

"My opportunity has now come so it's time to grab it. My last two performances show I'm ready - it's against Leigh Wood so happy days, let's go."

Belt upgrade

Fight promoter Eddie Hearn said at Thursday's press conference in Belfast that the WBA featherweight super champion belt could also be on the line at Motorpoint Arena.

Hearn expects Leo Santa Cruz to vacate the title having not fought at the weight in two years. Wood currently holds the sanctioning body's 'regular' world title, but Hearn anticipates the bout being upgraded.

The promoter also said the winner of the contest would face the victor of Josh Warrington and Kiko Martinez's IBF featherweight world title showdown on 26 March in a summer unification fight.

Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan face-off in Belfast as fight promoter Eddie Hearn looks on
Leigh Wood and Michael Conlan face-off in Belfast as fight promoter Eddie Hearn looks on

Fighting in Wood's home city in front of a sell-out crowd holds no fears for Conlan as he aims to add a world title to his Olympic bronze medal.

"I'm delighted with the venue - my dad has been saying for months that he wanted me to go into his backyard and take the title from him," he added.

"So let's do it. You have to have that little chip on your shoulder and to be ready to go to war with anybody. I think I've showed I have that fire in me to go anywhere and do what I want to do.

"I went to Nottingham on Wednesday and acted the same as I am a day later, whereas he's changed. Little small wins over a period of time add up and create that doubt in his head.

"I'm going in there to try and take a world title off someone in their back garden. The better opponent I face the better performance you'll see.

"Leigh wasn't on my radar 12 months ago, but with a string of performances he's in the position he's in now - he's world champion, unbelievable, and now I've got to beat him."

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