Irish featherweight prospect Michael Conlan, already a major attraction in New York thanks to its large Irish community, is headed home for his first professional fight in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
On June 30, at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Conlan, a two-time Irish Olympian, will face an opponent to be determined, on a card that will stream live in the United States on ESPN+.
The 26-year-old Conlan (6-0, 5 KOs), who claimed an Olympic bronze medal in 2012 and was controversially eliminated in the quarterfinals of the 2016 Olympics, signed with American promoter Top Rank and has had all of his pro fights in the United States with the exception of one appearance on a Manny Pacquiao undercard in Australia.
Part of his deal called for some fights at home, and now that will happen after Top Rank made a deal with British promoter Frank Warren to put him on the card in Belfast.
"For me, to be back in Belfast is a dream come true," said Conlan, who, after living in Southern California for the first year of his pro career, has moved back home. "Once I signed the professional contract in America with Top Rank, one thing I wanted to make sure is that once a year I would fight at home. The first year, it hasn't been doable because I wanted to wait for a really meaningful bout. This time it'll be something very good, and I can't wait. What a huge honor it is for me to box back in my home city. I've been to an awful lot of huge boxing events around the world, and there are very few that can match the atmosphere the people of Belfast can generate.
"Belfast is a city that loves boxing, and I'm very grateful that I can bring a big show to these shores that I call home. I feel I need to pay back all the fans that have been traveling to the U.S., time and time again, to see me fight. This one is for them, and I hope to bring many more fights to Belfast again in the future."
Conlan's appearance on June 30 is contingent on winning and not getting injured in a fight against Spain's Ibon Larrinaga (10-1, 2 KOs) on May 12 on the Jorge Linares-Vasiliy Lomachenko undercard at Madison Square Garden in New York.
"I'm thrilled to be bringing Irish amateur hero Michael Conlan back to his hometown," Warren said. "The Irish have been desperate to see him in action back home, and on June 30, they will get the chance to watch one of the best featherweight prospects in the world in the flesh.
"There is no doubt he has the potential to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Carl Frampton and Wayne McCullough -- two of Ireland's finest. He has made an explosive start to life in the professional code, and I'm predicting fireworks from him on his big homecoming."