Monday 20 May 2019

Walsh: Conlan must control his emotions

BELFAST flywight boxer Michael Conlan, 20, qualified for London as a teenager at the World Championships and has since breezed through the life of an elite athlete.

Tonight, in the ExCel Arena (8.45 approx), the depth of his confidence will be explored by an African opponent, who Irish head coach Billy Walsh describes as "tough and durable".

They've watched their videos of Ghana's Duke Micah, a bronze medalist at the African Olympic qualifiers, who Walsh believes is not as accomplished a boxer as Conlan.

"It's all about performance," said Walsh yesterday. "If Michael goes in and performs, I know he's far better than this guy, but he's got to go in and perform in that cauldron.

"It's been like a scene from 'Gladiator' this week. You can hear the crowd baying. As a fighter, that's the kind of thing that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

"It's very hard to control your emotions. If we can control Michael's emotions -- and he is a very emotional guy -- he'll do really well."

About one hour later (9.45), Wexford welterweight Adam Nolan (pictured) faces a difficult task against Russia's former world silver medalist, Andrey Zamkovoy. Nolan was impressive for the opening two rounds against Ecuadorian Carlos Sanches Estacio on Sunday evening, but became a bit ragged in the third.

Walsh believes he will need a significant improvement to beat Zamkovoy. "He's a complete underdog going in there," he said of Nolan. "But he's looking forward to having a go. Adam probably let himself down a little piece in the last round on Sunday when he was struggling for the finishing line.

"This time he has a win under his belt and that can make a big, big difference.

"His first fight in all of the competitions he's been entered in has been poor. But that's under his belt now. You saw with most of the boys that they improve after their first fight and we're hopeful Adam will as well."

The Bray-based garda, should he upset the Russian tonight, will box for a medal next Tuesday, possibly against Indian third seed Krishan Vikas.

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