Irish Elite champion Michael Conlan will be aiming to make a positive start to his World Series of Boxing (WSB) career this week - but a current European champion and AIBA 2011 World Championships silver medallist is standing in his way.
Conlan, a bronze medal winner at London 2012, makes his eagerly anticipated WSB debut for the USA Knockouts at York Hall, London on Thursday night against Wales’ Andrew Selby of the British Lionhearts.
The five-round Celtic derby at the spiritual home of British boxing is a repeat of the 2011 AIBA World Championships flyweight quarter-final which Selby edged 25-24 won en route to silver in Baku, Azerbaijan.
The pair, who have moved up to bantamweight for the WSB, qualified for London 2012 by virtue of reaching the last-eight in the Azeri capital. They also occupy No.1 and No.3 berths in the AIBA World flyweight rankings, Selby commanding pole position.
Conlan, 21, can’t wait to answer an opening bell in the WSB, and the St John Bosco BC (Belfast) ace acknowledged that Selby, who has won two from two for the Lionhearts this season, is a formidable opponent.
He said: “Selby is a top class boxer; he has been very impressive in the competition so far. We know each other very well and have fought each other before; he has incredible speed and fitness.
“I am feeling great at the moment and know I can win on Thursday. I really enjoy the professional style of WSB, it suits my style better. I also really enjoy not wearing the headgear and vest”.