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After a crushing TKO loss Michael Conlan begins his quest to rebound — once more

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After getting knocked out of the ring in a jarring defeat 5 months in the past, Michael Conlan would have been forgiven had he chosen a neater opponent than Miguel Marriaga for his return on Saturday (ESPN+, 2 p.m. ET).

In among the finest fights of 2022 on March 12, Conlan entered the final spherical with a slim factors lead however then was knocked out by Leigh Wood, fell backward by way of the ropes and off the ring apron.

“Fortunately, my brother Jamie [former boxer who challenged for the junior bantamweight title in 2017] was there to catch me,” Conlan informed ESPN. “He was on his ft ringside, shouting directions, noticed what was occurring and ran over and acquired me, which was fortunate sufficient as a result of it may have been much more harmful than it was.

“But it surely was extra drama than what really occurred. The paramedics had been attempting to place an oxygen masks on me when my gumshield was in, and other people had been considering I used to be useless, and it was silly. It wasn’t properly dealt with.”

Conlan, 30, from Belfast, Northern Eire, had managed quite a lot of the struggle, however Wooden rallied within the later rounds to ground Conlan on the finish of the eleventh after which pulled off the win within the ultimate spherical with a cluster of punches in entrance of his dwelling crowd in Nottingham, England.

Conlan (16-1, 8 KOs) insists he didn’t take quite a lot of punishment within the struggle, regardless of the worrying finish, and is glad to be dealing with a correct check this weekend.

“The punch that acquired me was [more] fatigue than precise harm achieved on me,” Conlan informed ESPN. “Not one among his punches earlier than harm me. Up till the final half of a spherical, I used to be fully in management and I did not take a lot stick within the struggle, or a beating. So I wished to get straight again into it.

“There isn’t any one higher for me to face proper now than Marriaga. He is tried and examined, fought at a great degree.”

Marriaga (30-5, 26 KOs), 35, from Colombia, additionally misplaced his final struggle (a call to Eduardo Ramirez in December) however is heavy-handed and skilled, having confronted high fighters resembling Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oscar Valdez in unsuccessful world title challenges.

Conlan displays on his first world title struggle in opposition to Wooden, as a studying expertise and hopes a victory in his dwelling metropolis of Belfast on the SSE Enviornment will arrange a rematch with Wooden (26-2, 16 KOs), 33, the WBA “common” featherweight champion. Wooden is being linked with a struggle in opposition to Leo Santa Cruz, the distinguished Mexican who holds the WBA “tremendous” featherweight world title.

“What I discovered from that [Wood] struggle is, do not get drunk by yourself success,” Conlan informed ESPN. “I used to be doing greater than I wanted to do — I may have simply boxed myself to victory within the final half of the struggle. Though having mentioned that, the scorecards had been tight in some way [105-102, 104-103 and 104-103 in favor of Conlan at the time of the stoppage], I do not perceive that. However I took extra from that loss than I might [have] from profitable it. I made quite a lot of foolish errors and I’ve rectified these with my coach, Adam Sales space.”

Conlan mentioned promoter Matchroom was seeking to do the rematch with Woods within the winter, however the WBA ordered the Santa Cruz-Woods struggle and Santa Cruz has accepted.

“After all I would like the rematch. He received the lottery that night time with that punch, and you might see it in his response,” Conlan mentioned. “When is that [Santa Cruz] struggle going to occur, and can it ever occur? I am not so positive, however I hope Leigh wins if it does so we will do the rematch. If it drags on, I’ll chase one other champion. I am prepared to struggle one of the best instantly. I’ve already proven I can grasp with one of the best guys on the planet.”

That is the second time Conlan is attempting to rebound from a stunning defeat. The primary was a controversial loss on the 2016 Olympics, earlier than he turned skilled and collected 16 straight victories. However Conlan insists it will be fallacious to anticipate him to undertake a safety-first strategy.

“I am not a gung-ho fighter anyway, however in opposition to Leigh Wooden I went to warfare a bit due to what occurred within the struggle,” Conlan informed ESPN.

“My plan is to field like I often do. I have never been gun shy in sparring. I simply wish to go in there and proper the fallacious. I am comfy in my mindset.”

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