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Jonathan Porter/INPHO Michael Conlan with trainer Adam Booth.
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Conlan to challenge Wood for featherweight belt in champion's hometown of Nottingham
The Belfast man will hope his legion of travelling supporters make Nottingham feel like home on 12 March.

IRELAND’S MICHAEL CONLAN will challenge Leigh Wood for a secondary version of the featherweight world title in the WBA beltholder’s hometown of Nottingham.

The two-time Olympian and former amateur world champion will bring a legion of fans with him from Belfast into the lion’s den on 12 March, with Nottingham’s 10,000-capacity Motorpoint Arena playing host to the contest.

Wood, 33, boasts a record of 25-2 (15KOs), and incidentally stopped Conlan’s Rio 2016 Olympic team-mate David Oliver Joyce in 2019. Conlan, 30, has won all of his 16 professional contests (eight by stoppage) since turning over following the Rio Games and produced a career-best performance to see off Portlaoise’s former super-bantamweight world champion TJ Doheny at Belfast’s Falls Park last August.

Wood, meanwhile, enters the contest off the back of two impressive stoppage victories over fellow Briton Reece Mould and China’s Can Xu, the latter of whom he relieved of the WBA featherweight title — although farcically with the WBA, they have in Leo Santa Cruz a ‘super’ champion whose belt would be considered the sanctioning body’s legitimate world title.

This Wood-Conlan bout is consequently not a full-on world-title bout but it will be, by a distance, the most significant of each fighter’s career, and it should pave the way for the victor to face Santa Cruz or one of the other legitimate champions at 126 pounds.

Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom beat Top Rank, who promote Conlan, to the purse bid for the fight, which has led to the bout taking place in Wood’s hometown rather than Belfast or New York’s Madison Square Garden, where Conlan typically fights every St Patrick’s weekend.

Beltholder Wood is entitled to 55% of the purse which equates to around £600,000 (€725,000), while Conlan will pocket the remaining 45% of roughly £500,000 (€595,000).

Because Matchroom will promote the bill, it will be broadcast exclusively live on the streaming platform DAZN.

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The42 understands that Matchroom middleweight prospect Caoimhín Agyarko [10-0, 7KOs], also a Belfast native, will join Conlan on the bill following his impressive ninth-round stoppage of the teak-tough Noe Larios Jr in Liverpool last month.


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