Michael Conlan insists his motivation remains unchanged as new opponent announced

Michael Conlan will take on Diego Alberto Ruiz at Falls Park on August 3.
Michael Conlan will take on Diego Alberto Ruiz at Falls Park on August 3.
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Michael Conlan will take on WBC Latino Silver featherweight king, Diego Alberto Ruiz at the Féile an Phobail on August 3.

And the Belfast fighter insists his mindset hasn't changed despite the late change in opponent as he makes his way up the ladder towards a world title shot.

Conlan (11-0, 6 KOs), who had originally been slated to face former Olympic rival, Vladimir Nikitin only for the Russian to withdraw citing a bicep injury, is delighted at the news of a step up in level for his third 10-rounder.

His headline fight against the dangerous Argentinian Ruiz (21-2, 10 KOs)at Falls Park is to be screened live on BT Sport in association with Queensberry Promotions and on ESPN+ in association with Top Rank.

Conlan reckons a test against the highly rated Argentine will help him move up the rankings quicker than re-engaging in a battle with Nikitin.

“The show goes on," he said. "A bigger fight is happening. A harder fight is happening. A better performance will happen. My motivation and mindset haven’t changed.

“I’ve got a high-class fighter ranked highly in the world. I’m expecting him to cause me more problems than what Nikitin could have caused me.

“Maybe, once I’m world champion, I might give Nikitin a shot but for now I’m moving on because it was more stalling my career than advancing it in terms of the level I’m at.

“Facing a higher level of opponent is better for me. I want to push on towards world titles and big, big fights and I have to start going through the gears now.”

Ruiz meanwhile reckons all the pressure will be on Conlan fighting on home soil as he prepares himself for the biggest fight of his career.

“This is the biggest fight of my career and a great opportunity to prove myself as a fighter," he said. "I fought June 1, and I am going to be ready for whatever Michael brings.

“It won’t be an easy fight, but it is not an impossible task. I am not scared to fight on the road. That is my motivation because the pressure will be on him.”

Several local boxing heroes have already been confirmed on the card with Paddy Barnes, Sean McComb, Alfredo Meli vs. Araik Marutjan, Padraig McCrory, Callum Bradley, Seanie Duffy and Dee Sullivan all earning slots.