Belfast's boxing hero Michael Conlan returns to his home territory of Belfast this Saturday as he looks to bounce back from his first professional defeat last time out. Conlan would not opt for an easy touch on return, as he faces the Columbian veteran Miguel Marriaga.
Conlan turned pro following the 2016 Rio Olympics, a tournament which saw Conlan go viral as he aired his frustrations in an x-rated rant about how he was robbed of victory in the quarter-final against the Russian Vladimir Nikitin.
Bob Arum would be the man to agree a promotional deal with Conlan when he turned professional and give him a huge platform for his professional debut, giving Conlan the headline act at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Conlan would repay Arum with a spectacular third-round knockout of Tim Ibarra to hit the ground running in the paid ranks. Conlan would rack up victories on Arum's biggest shows across America, and even a position on the Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn card in Australia, before being given a homecoming bout in Belfast in his eighth fight. Conlan would return home to a cacophony of noise and would defeat Adeilson Dos Santos by unanimous decision.
Conlan would pick up his first belt in his tenth bout, as he would pick up the WBO InterContinental title following a unanimous decision win over Jason Cunningham. A win over Ruben Hernandez in New York came next before Conlan would return to Belfast. This time Conlan would headline a show that was a part of the famous Feile An Phobail festival at Falls Park. The man who controversially defeated Conlan in the Olympics, Vladimir Nikitin was the opponent slated for Conlan on this night, however, Nikitin withdrew, leading to Diego Ruiz being drafted in as the opponent. Conlan would stop Ruiz in nine rounds. Conlan got his shot at redemption at Nikitin next, and took his opportunity to right the wrong, as he would comprehensively beat his former Olympic foe.
Conlan would pick up two victories over both Sofiane Takoucht and Ionut Baluta before headlining at the Feile An Phobail festival again at Falls Park, this time it was an all-Irish affair as Conlan would face former world champion TJ Doheny for the WBA 'Interim' title. Conlan would be the stronger man over 12 rounds and would defeat Doheny by unanimous decision, setting him up for a world title shot. The world title shot came next, as Conlan would travel to enemy territory to take on WBA champion Leigh Wood in Nottingham. In what many believe was the best fight of 2021 so far, Conlan would drop Wood hard in the first round, however, Wood would come back and stop Conlan in a dramatic final round.
Marriaga is a 35-fight veteran, with 30 of the fights ending in victory and 26 of these victories ending in knockouts. Marriaga has had multiple world title shots, but unfortunately has not quite cracked the honours. Nicholas Walters was the first man who would stop Marriaga from achieving a world title as he was beaten by a unanimous decision. Marriaga would return and bounce back stringing five victories together before landing another world title fight but was unsuccessful in his challenge of Oscar Valdez. Marriaga would instantly return in a world title fight but would be stopped for the first and only time in his career by Vasyl Lomachenko. Marriaga would return and work his way towards another world title shot but these were hindered after he had won four on the spin before getting handed a loss by Joet Gonzalez. Marriaga would bounce back to knock Jorge Garcia Jimenez out in six rounds. Last time out Marriaga was defeated by Eduardo Ramirez but should not be written off as he is also looking to bounce back to winning ways this Saturday.
The undercard sees two men looking to return to winning ways as Tyrone McKenna moves up to welterweight following his loss at super lightweight to Regis Prograis. McKenna's opponent is a former British champion, Chris Jenkins who was defeated last time out by Florian Marku, so both men would be looking to revive their careers.
Padraig McCrory steps up to face veteran Marco Antonio Periban for the WBC International Silver super middleweight champion. Hot prospect Paddy Donovan will be looking to move to 9-0 when he faces Tom Hill this weekend, Donovan has been a talent to watch and will look to put on a huge performance in Belfast.
???? Paddy Donovan with a brutal body shot for the finish in Belfast
?? The @AndyLeeBoxing-trained welterweight talent is one to watch
— BOXRAW (@BOXRAW) August 6, 2021
Someone's 0 has to go when James McGivern goes toe-to-toe with Irish rival Tony McGlynn in a 50/50 domestic dust-up. The same can be said about Ruadhan Farrell and Colm Murphy as those two undefeated Irish fighters collide for the BUI Celtic featherweight title. Fearghus Quinn returns on this card as he looks to move to 4-0 after scoring his first knockout victory last time out.
Sean McComb returns as he looks to make his way back into the title picture. Lewis Crocker is back in action this Saturday as he squares off with Carlos Daniel Aquino over eight rounds. Irish heavyweight sensation Thomas Carty will look to move to 4-0 and continue his knockout streak as he fights on home soil for the first time.
Kurt Walker returns and will look to build on his victory at Wembley Stadium last time out, as he faces the Argentinian Marcos Gabriel Martinez. Kieran Molloy makes up the whole show as he returns to the ring for his second pro fight after scoring a knockout victory in his debut.
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Kieran Molloy stops Damian Esquisabel in the second round to kickstart his career in professional boxing ????@boxxer | @trboxingpic.twitter.com/YGsuECnewu
— Sky Sports Boxing (@SkySportsBoxing) February 26, 2022
Conlan and Marriaga meet at the SSE Arena in Belfast with both men looking to get back on the right track and return to winning ways. The bout can be watched live on Saturday night on Fite TV at the cost of £7.99.