Leigh Wood faces ‘great public image in Ireland’ Michael Conlan – ‘I know exactly what I’m going to do’

Wood defends WBA featherweight title against Conlan live from Nottingham

Leigh Wood (25-2, 15 KOs) of England defends his WBA featherweight title against Michael Conlan (16-0, 8 KOs) of Northern Ireland live from Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham on Saturday, March 12. Boxing fans can watch the fight live stream on DAZN worldwide (excluding Australia and New Zealand).

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Following the kickoff press conference held in Nottingham earlier this week, the second leg of press tour took place at Exhibition Centre at Europa Hotel in Belfast. Check out below what the fighters had to say.

Leigh Wood: All the best on fight night because he’s going to need it

“I’m not a performing monkey, I’m a fighter. I’m not a media dream, I’ve not been managed well, I’ve done it from the bottom up. I’ve earned everything off my own back the hard way.

“In my opinion I don’t think Mick’s every been in a 50/50 fight, this is new for him, but I’ve come through those challenges. I’ve been in the bookies not favourite and come out the other side from a pressure point of view. He is right, there’s going to be a lot of people and a lot of pressure, but I thrive on pressure. My whole career I’ve been thrown in and come out the other side, we’ve got seven weeks to find out and I can’t wait.

“My greatest assets don’t even get talked about one bit, dedication, I’ve put my life on hold because boxing is everything to me. It always has been since a young age; he’s going to look at these defeats but that’s going to work in my favour. I don’t need to nit-pick through his performances, I know what I’m going to do, I know exactly what I’m going to do.

“Michael’s a great fighter, he’s had some really great wins and is going to be a really big challenge, but I know what I need to do on fight night. He’s a great champion, a great public image in Ireland, massive, all the best on fight night because he’s going to need it.

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“I’ve been there before, in fights in my career, in my life. I’ve not had a promoter, anyone steering me in the right direction, I’ve not had my dad taking me to the gym from a young age. I walked in the gym on own 10/11 years old and it takes a lot to do that, to get to this point on my own. I’ve got here on my own with pure determination and grit, resilience and refusal to give up and that’s what it’s going to take to come through this fight and that’s what I do.”

Michael Conlan: I’m ready to go right to the end

“I’m in the back garden, I want to come and say what I want to say. There was no fear in me, I’m there and I’m going to talk my shit and say what I needed to say. Leigh stutters, he tries to spit things out and wasn’t making sense, but you know, it’s part of the fight game.

“I love this, this stuff gets my ready to go, I could fight right now. I’m ready to go right now, Leigh is not and doesn’t need to be until the fight night 100%. That’s the thing, I’ve stayed professional, I’ve been in training since September, I thought I was fighting in December – I kept training, stayed in shape, stayed fit. March 12 you’ll hear I’m the new and that’s all I want to say.

“I know exactly what it’s like fighting under that pressure of fighting at home, I’ve done it three times and every show has been massive. Loads of people there, so much expectation, a purpose-built arena in a park. This guy doesn’t understand it, he’s never felt it, you can see his demeanour has changed from yesterday.

“He doesn’t understand the pressure’s that come with fighting in your home city, he had the opportunity to fight at MSG and he can come to Belfast and fight if he wanted to. But no, he wants to fight in Nottingham, in the City Ground before he retires. He knows I can beat him.

“There’s possibilities in anybody losing, anybody, I’m not going to say it’s impossible, but he will not beat me it’s as simple as that. I really respect him as a fighter and a person, but again fuck all that until the fight is over. Once the fight is over, shake his hand. Happy days, can’t wait.

“I’m ready to go right to the end, it doesn’t matter, this fight means everything to me. I’ve taken myself away from both my children, the first time I’ve seen them in four weeks was last night and it’ll be the last time I see them in seven weeks until the fight. This is my life, the only thing I know is boxing, believe me on March 12 I’ll be the new, 100%.

“This is the start of my journey to become the best fighter in the world, once I win this belt, I’ll go on to do what I have to do after. I have to win this belt first before I even have to think about that.”

The finalized Wood vs Conlan fight card is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.

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