I am just loving life: Michael Conlan
A cool, calm and collected Michael Conlan got the job done against Adeilson Dos Santos at the SSE Arena on Saturday night.
There were a few fireworks during the 10-round fight as the Belfast fighter won 79-73 on the scorecard against a game and durable opponent.
Conlan switched styles throughout and left Dos Santos confused and frustrated at stages.
It was a solid performance from the Belfast fighter but he is still a work-in-progress and we must not forget this was only his eighth fight as a professional.
He will learn from this encounter and get better for it - but can be pleased with his first pro performance on home soil. And he loved the reception he got from the loud and vocal home support.
“The atmosphere was a highlight,” said Conlan. “The crowd singing along at the start was out of this world.
“That and the Garden will live with me for the rest of my life.
“No-matter what - if I die or retire in the morning I could never beat that.
“That was special. Belfast is special and I can’t wait to get back because it is the best place in the world.
“I felt I used the atmosphere and I soaked it up and didn’t let it affect me like the Garden in my first fight.
“I have lived all over the world but this city is great and now that I have boxed here I don’t want to box anywhere else.”
And Conlan says Dos Santos proved a tough nut to crack but it has made him a better fighter.
“Massively,” he said. “I think that fight is going to help my career massively.
“That is the first real fight I have had, Let us be honest about it.
“I thought the last fight was going to be as the guy had boxed for the Mediterranean WBC title but this guy was a proper fighter who had been a world title challenger.
“He was a sparring partner for some top guys and been in with some experienced guys.
“He didn’t like it when I was hitting round the side of the head. Maybe I should have done that a wee bit more.
“He was very aware of that and that was why his guard was so high.”
And Conlan says he had to use his boxing skills and ring craft against Dos Santos.
“He has 15 knock-outs in 19 fights, so he has a good punch,” said Conlan. “And I felt some of them when I was defending there and he hit me back of the head and he really didn’t hurt me but I could tell he had pop in his punches.
“So I wasn’t going to risk anything, I am not stupid and I have to think about the future. I don’t need to be slugging it out with someone who I have more skill than and have to bring myself down to that level.”
And Conlan was not concerned with the cuts.
“It was my own fault,” he said. “We were on the inside and when I tried to turn him I turned my head, instead of just turning my body, we clashed our heads. But I have been cut in the amateurs so it didn’t bother me.
“It was an experience but I know how to handle it.”