Michael Conlan in action against Diego Alberto Ruiz at Falls Park earlier this month. Jonathan Porter/INPHO
New Direction

Conlan set for major step up in opposition in December, and then a step down in weight for 2020

The 27-year-old could face a recent world champion when he shares a bill with Carl Frampton and Terence Crawford in New York.

MICHAEL CONLAN IS set to face a serious step up in opposition when he shares a bill with pound-for-pound star Terence Crawford and fellow Belfast man Carl Frampton at Madison Square Garden, New York, in December.

The Falls Road featherweight [12-0, 7KOs] will then attempt to squeeze himself back into the super-bantamweight division to pursue a world title in 2020.

As first reported by ESPN, former WBO World champion Isaac Dogboe and formidable Filipino Genesis Servania — both currently super-bantams — are being sounded out as potential foes for the Irishman on 14 December.

The42 understands that there are two other significant names in the fray to test Conlan’s mettle in the Big Apple, but regardless of opponent, the fight will take place at his current fight weight of 126 pounds rather than his soon-to-be weight of 122.

Either Dogboe [20-2, 14KOs] or Servania [32-2, 15KOs] would likely present the stiffest test of Conlan’s career by a significant margin: the former, a Ghanaian based in London, stopped Conlan’s former California gym-mate and sparring partner Jesse Magdaleno to bag world honours in April of last year, albeit he has since lost twice to brick-fisted Mexican star Emanuel Navarrete [28-1, 24KOs] — firstly via unanimous decision, and then by a final-round TKO.

Those are the only defeats of the 24-year-old’s stellar pro career, and he would be favoured by many — at least Stateside — to relieve Conlan of his undefeated record if they were to meet in the middle later this year.

Servania only recently reconverted to 122 pounds having hung with the best of them up at 126: the 28-year-old Filipino dropped world champion Oscar Valdez in their 2017 WBO title scrap, taking the hard-hitting Mexican the distance only to lose out in a competitive but fair unanimous decision.

After a December outing in his second home of New York, Conlan — already world-ranked at featherweight — will begin his transition from 126 to 122 pounds. The42 understands that he may first take a fight at 123 or 124 to test the water before pushing the cut further as he pursues world titles in his new division.

Regardless of his next opponent, Conlan’s Christmas fight will receive the ratings boost of airing on ESPN immediately following the presentation of the Heisman Trophy to college football’s best player of 2019.

The Terence Crawford-topped bill is also set to feature a mouth-watering lightweight world-title fight between Richard Commey and rising star Teofimo Lopez, with the winner in line to face Vasyl Lomachenko provided he overcomes Luke Campbell this Saturday.

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