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31st May 2017

Conor McGregor’s gift to Michael Conlan not necessarily one that keeps on giving

Time will tell

Ben Kiely

There’s a real push for Michael Conlan to become the next big internationally renowned boxing star from this nation of fighters.

The Belfast boxer was already a superstar at amateur level and since joining the pro ranks the hype train has been speeding down the tracks, and deservedly so. He’s an extremely talented boxer and a dynamo behind the mic, as his unforgettable rant following that Olympic robbery in Rio proved.

Very few boxers get the sort of promotion Conlan has been receiving so early into his professional career, and that’s a great thing. There is a serious amount of buzz every time he fights, and this is only going to perpetuate as long as he keeps dusting fools inside the ring.

Although he was always on course to be in the spotlight, it was certainly magnified for his professional debut in New York when arguably the biggest superstar in combat sports walked out with holding the Irish flag. Undoubtetly Conor McGregor’s presence brought more eyes to the event.

Although he wasn’t in Chicago for Conlan’s sophomore bout, an absolute annihilation of 4-4 (now 4-5) jobber Alfredo Chanez, McGregor’s presence was still felt.

Not inside the ring. Conlan did all the hard work there himself, but he was present in the international coverage of the fight after the fact.

A lot of publications feel the need to keep people up to date with Conlan’s progression, but there is a sense that they are only doing so because of the McGregor link.

That’s how you end up with bullshit like this.

‘McGregor’s protege?’ That’s just insulting.

We can also expect him to have the ‘McGregor friend’ tag for a while. One can only hope this doesn’t become a permanent thing. While it’s great that his association with the UFC sensation has given him increased coverage, he doesn’t want to become ‘that guy who knows that really famous guy.’

If he keeps going the way he’s going, this sort of stuff should become a distant memory.