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“Michael Conlan: The Hope of a Nation” Debuts 14 Days Before Pro Debut

It's T-Minus 14 days until Ireland's Olympic hero Michael "Mick" Conlan celebrates St. Patrick's Day by making his professional debut headlining a special card at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

Conlan's pro debut, which will be as a featherweight, in a six-round bout against Tim Ibarra (4-4, 1 KO), of Denver, is set for Friday, March 17 at the "O'Mecca of Boxing."

And to put an exclamation point on the occasion, fellow countryman and UFC superstar and lightweight champion Conor McGregor has accepted Conlan's invitation to walk him into the ring!

Conlan joins an elite group of Olympic medalists, including George Foreman, Evander Holyfield and Jermaine Taylor, to make his professional debut on boxing's most hallowed ground, but none of them were featured in the main event like Conlan.

Top Rank, which is promoting this special event, in association with Hennessy and Madison Square Garden, has just released a new video "Conlan: The Hope of a Nation" documenting Conlan's personal journey to his pro debut. Produced by Craig Shapiro, the video was shot in Conlan's hometown of Belfast and New York.

Conlan, 25, from Belfast, Northern Ireland, produced one of the most memorable moments during last summer's Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. A loss in the bantamweight quarterfinals to Russia's Vladimir Nikitin was arguably the most controversial of the boxing tournament.

In fact Conlan hurt Nikitin so badly that the Russian forfeited his semifinal fight because he wasn't able to recuperate from the injuries he suffered from the pasting he received from Conlan.

After the decision was announced, Conlan saluted the judges with both middle fingers followed by a series of post-fight interviews ripping the decision and accusing the International Boxing Association (AIBA), which oversees amateur boxing, of corruption.

AIBA sent the judges who worked that fight home in the wake of the immediate public outrage. Conlan further added to his legend by sending a Tweet to Russian president Vladimir Putin, "How much did they charge you bro???"

A former amateur standout who was a 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist and 2015 World Amateur Champion, a first for a male Irish fighter, Conlan is training in Los Angeles with Manny Robles.

Remaining tickets to Conlan's pro debut are priced at $200, $150, $100, $75 and $50. They can be purchased at the Madison Square Garden Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, Ticketmaster charge by phone (866-858-0008), and online at www.ticketmaster.com and www.thegarden.com.

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