IBF featherweight world champion Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez is gearing up to make the first defense of his crown. The 29-year-old will face Michael “Mick” Conlan Saturday, May 27, at The SSE Arena in Conlan’s hometown of Belfast. (photos by Mikey Williams)

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Lopez-Conlan and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States. BT Sport will broadcast the event in the UK and Ireland.

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Lopez (27-2, 15 KOs), from Mexicali, Mexico, navigated bumpy terrain to become a world champion. Despite losing early in his career to Abraham Montoya and Ruben Villa, he regained his momentum with victories over unbeaten standouts Gabriel Flores Jr. and Isaac Lowe. After two stay-busy wins, Lopez received his shot at the title, defeating Josh Warrington in enemy territory in Leeds, England.

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Now under the tutelage of Kay Koroma, he is preparing in Las Vegas to make his first title defense. Conlan (18-1, 9 KOs), a 31-year-old Olympic bronze medalist from Belfast, made an unsuccessful bid for the WBA featherweight title against Leigh Wood in March 2022 but bounced back later that year with wins over Miguel Marriaga and Karim Guerfi. Less than six months after his first-round knockout against Guerfi, he will return to The SSE Arena for the third straight time.

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