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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
# All White on the Night
New York snowstorms disrupt Conlan's final preparations for professional debut
The Belfast boxer fights Tim Ibarra at Madison Square Garden on St Patrick’s Day.

Michael Conlan Emily Harney / INPHO Conlan. Emily Harney / INPHO / INPHO

Ciaran Gallagher reports from New York 

SPORTING AN ‘NYPD’ emblazoned woolly hat is about the only practical adjustment Michael Conlan has made since an ongoing snowstorm began to hit Manhattan.

While the 25-year-old was due to take part in a media workout at Madison Square Garden today – ahead of his professional debut at the same venue’s Theater arena on St Patrick’s Day evening – Conlan is instead likely to have a “little shakeout” in his hotel’s gym, according to manager Matthew Macklin.

Such a light workout will probably just involve shadow boxing as the Belfast native has already prepared diligently under trainer Manny Robles in Los Angeles prior to his arrival in New York last Sunday.

Since then, snow began to fall overnight into this morning in the Big Apple, provoking a notable level of panic among some New Yorkers while others remain nonplussed.

ABC News have confirmed that a “blizzard warning was cancelled for New York City” with a “winter weather advisory” now in place.

An extra two-to-four inches of snow is expected on top of the four inches that have already fallen, leading to five flights that were scheduled for today from Dublin to New York being cancelled.

While up to 2,000 Irish fans are expected to travel for Conlan’s paid debut against American Tim Ibarra on Friday, the Belfast headliner is remaining cool, calm and collected in the icy conditions – apart from his freezing head, that is.

“I only bought it last night,” said Conlan when quizzed on his headwear. “My head started to freeze because I got my hair cut short… My head was like an icicle!”

On a more serious note, the 25-year-old is confident that travelling fans will make it to the Garden, one way or another. “All my family is already here,” he explained. “For everyone else, it’s not in my control.

It’s not that I don’t care, of course I want them to get here, and I did start to worry about it a wee bit, but I have to just accept it’s not in my control.

“The flights will be rescheduled so I think the storm is going to finish around lunchtime (today) in New York, so people should still be able to get here between Wednesday evening and Thursday,” added the world amateur champion, who has been feeling the weather ahead of hitting a 124lb catchweight limit (between super-bantam and featherweight) on Thursday morning.

Winter Weather New York Mark Lennihan Snowstorms hits Time Square. Mark Lennihan

While this reporter can confirm that is — unsurprisingly — cold, it is hard to emphasise with a fighter who isn’t carrying the extra insulation that typical American food affords the rest of us.

When the wind hits you, it’s bad. It’s the wind chill. I feel it’s the coldest place I’ve ever been,” said Conlan.

“I’ve no fat on my body, so when I’m walking about it’s cutting me in half,” laughed the Falls Road fighter, who insisted that he is finding it less of a battle to make weight now than he did as an amateur.

“It’s far easier, so much easier. It’s just that I’m ripped to shreds, I’ve no fat on my body – about five per cent or probably less,” he claimed. “I’m feeling in good shape and I feel ready.”

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Conlan McGregor Instagram / mickconlan11 Conlan and McGregor. Instagram / mickconlan11 / mickconlan11

Ibarra carries a modest record of 4-4 and Conlan will be expected to easily overcome the 26-year-old Colorado resident as promoters Top Rank look to launch their signing on the Irish-American market.

“I’ve trained hard and I’ve given it 100%,” said the headliner ahead of the bout, which will be screened live on Eir Sport’s BoxNation ahead of delayed coverage on RTÉ.

“I feel like I have more love for the game. I wouldn’t say I lost my love for it, but it’s reignited it and kicked it on a bit more,” added Conlan, who will be walked into the ring on Friday by Conor McGregor.

“I’ve seen him a few times over the past few months and I’ve been texting him the odd time,” said the world amateur champion on his fighting contemporary. “It was confirmed the other day that he’s coming so I’m happy with that.

“Matthew is getting it all sorted so his team come in on the Friday and then we’ll have him walking out with us that evening.”

All important plans appear to be falling into place, despite the snow falling on the city.

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