Michael Conlan’s homecoming fight was a success as he continued his march up the featherweight rankings.
Returning to his home nation of Northern Ireland, Conlan stopped replacement opponent Diego Alberto Ruiz in the ninth round to walk away as the WBO Intercontinental and WBA Intercontinental 126-pound titles. Conlan obliterated Ruiz with body shots, ultimately stopping him right as the round was about to end, improving his pro record to 12-0.
From the opening bell, Conlan dominated Ruiz, outboxing his opponent with body shots and short combination upstairs while making Ruiz miss nearly 90 percent of his punches. In fact, Ruiz had only landed just 32 total punches throughout the bout. Conlan was originally supposed to fight Vladimir Nikitin, who infamously beat Conlan in the 2016 Olympics with a dubious decision, but Nikitin suffered an injury that forced him to withdraw from the bout.
The fight headlined an ESPN+ broadcast that also featured a number of Irish fighters in action. The co-main event was a controversial one as Chris Jenkins ended up beating Paddy Gallagher by technical decision with nine rounds scored. Jenkins walked away from the BBBofC British and Commonwealth welterweight titles with scores of 86-85 across the board.
The fight was stopped due to a cut over Jenkins’ left eye that was ruled to be caused by an accidental clash despite replays showing it was more likely caused by a punch landed from Gallagher. Though nine rounds were scored, the ninth round was only barely halfway completed before the bout was stopped.
Below are quick results of the August 2 Top Rank on ESPN+ card from Belfast, Northern Ireland:
- Michael Conlan defeated Alberto Ruiz by TKO, round 9 to retain the WBO Intercontinental featherweight title and win the WBA Intercontinental welterweight title
- Chris Jenkins defeated Paddy Gallagher by technical unanimous decision, round 9 (86-85, 86-85, 86-85) to retain the BBBofC British welterweight title and win the Commonwealth welterweight title
- Luke Keeler defeated Luis Arias by points (96-91)
- Sean McComb defeated Renald Garrido by points (79-73)
- Padraig McCrory defeated Steve Collins Jr. by TKO, round 8 to win the BUI Celtic super middleweight title
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