Jamie Conlan has insisted that he will produce a disciplined performance on Saturday night to claim his first world title at the SSE Odyssey Arena.
Super-flyweight Conlan challenges Filipino IBF world champion Jerwin Ancajas on a massive Belfast bill, which will be topped by Carl Frampton’s ring return against Mexican Horacio Garcia, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.
While he is undefeated in 19 fights, Conlan – the brother of former world amateur champion Michael – has gained a reputation as a warrior, earning the nickname ‘The Mexican’, having featured in a number of dramatic toe-to-toe tussles.
The 31-year-old Belfast native insists he will resist the urge to go to war against the formidable Ancajas (27-1-1), however, as the Manny Pacquiao-promoted southpaw is a technically gifted fighter.
“A very disciplined performance is needed,” said Conlan. “I can’t really get carried away in this one and I think the kind of style he brings will make me be a lot more tuned in. He’s more of a boxer than a fighter, more a technical boxer than a brawler, so it could be a different gameplan than what I’m used to. It could always go the other way and turn into a fight, but we’re preparing the right way to deal with this fella.”
Conlan was on a brief scouting mission during the summer when Ancjas featured on the same Pacquiao-headlined bill as Michael Conlan in Brisbane.
And the challenger was impressed with the champion’s victory over Japan’s Teiru Kinoshita when watching him in the flesh last July.
“His training time was the same time as Michael, so I seen him working out a bit,” explained Conlan. “My dad [amateur coach John] sat down and watched a bit of him on YouTube and he’s a very good operator. He’s world champion for a reason and in a division that’s pretty hot and heavy, he’s up there with the best of them, so it will take the very best of me to beat him.”
Prior to signing up with Matthew Macklin’s MTK Global, Conlan saw a number of big fights fall through so the Falls Road fighter is overjoyed to finally be preparing for his big night.
“This is something I’ve worked for a long while and what I’ve been gearing towards for a long while,” said Conlan. “When I signed with Macklin and MTK it was what they set out for me. It was a plan they had in place to put me on this path.
“I’ve rarely met people in boxing that don’t want something out of it, but when I sat down with them [MTK], I knew it was different with Matt. He’s trying to look after the boxers, who are usually always the guys who get screwed over. MTK are trying to change that and I can’t fault anything they’ve done,” continued the 31-year-old, who is delighted to have Frampton as a stablemate after his fellow Belfast native recently signed an advisory deal with MTK Global.
Conlan spent most of his training camp in Glasgow with trainer Danny Vaughan, while his Olympian brother Michael – another MTK star – acted as a sparring partner for a period.
“Mick was over for the first few weeks of camp. He was able to imitate a southpaw and I’ve ticked every box and I’m 100 per cent prepared physically and mentally,” said Conlan, who insisted he is not put out by the fact that his brother and Frampton are so often the main focus of the media and fight fans.
“I never really look at it that kind of way,” said the modest challenger. “Even on the night, the fight will probably be second fiddle to Carl’s non-title fight, but it doesn’t bother me in the slightest.
“I’m happy with myself and how my career is going. With my performances, I’m my own worst critic. But overall I’m happy because no-one has beaten me yet.
“Mick and Frampton are crossover stars and it’s brilliant for everyone else because if they’re in the papers and getting big shows then the people on the undercards are getting work and getting a wage.
“Recognition of your peers is a big thing for me… and that seems to have come with my performances and that’s something I’d hold in a lot higher regard.
“I don’t even tell people I’m a boxer half the time – just that I’m Michael’s brother!”
With Belfast and Irish pro boxing experiencing a boom period, Conlan hopes a world-title success this weekend will keep the good times rolling.
“It’s brilliant for the big names, but it’s fantastic for the boxers who are on the undercards too,” he said. “Every lad gets a piece of the pie – five minutes in heaven and 15 minutes of fame! Everyone gets a wage out of it and a chance to showcase their ability.”