Chicago fight fans will have a chance to get their Irish up when Ireland's Olympic hero Michael "Mick" Conlan comes to town. Hot from his high-profile professional debut, a literal knockout performance which took place on St. Patrick’s Day at a sold-out Theater at Madison Square Garden, Conlan continues his U.S. tour, going from the Big Apple to the City of Big Shoulders.
He will headline a nationally-televised event on Friday, May 26, at UIC Pavilion, in a six-round featherweight bout. The card will also feature former world champion “Mile High” Mike Alvarado and undefeated Top-10 welterweight contender Alex "El Cholo" Saucedo in separate 10 and eight-round bouts, respectively.
“I'm delighted to be boxing in Chicago,” said Conlan. “Chicago being heavily populated with Irish, I've already had a huge amount of people contacting me about the fight. And for Top Rank to have me as a main event again with a fantastic undercard is great. I'm looking forward to going there and putting on a great show for the fans!”
"Michael is looking better and looking sharper in the gym. You will definitely see an even greater fighter in the ring in Chicago,” said Manny Robles, Conlan’s trainer. “Michael is eager to grow and learn each day. He understands his responsibility not only to his management and promoter but to his people and entire country. He wants to become a world champioo Boutn and make his country proud. It is my job to help get him there."
"I'm really looking forward to Michael's next fight in Chicago. His debut was a huge success and I'm sure he will be receiving a similar reception from the Irish community in Chicago and from the Chicago fight fans,” said Matthew Macklin, a former three-time world title challenger and Conlan’s manager.
“Michael took a week off and was back in the gym sparring Jessie Magdaleno and working on all aspects of his game. He's very much a work in progress but he has all the talent in the world and is very dedicated. I expect him to settle down more in this fight and put on a great performance."
"The road to Mick's long-term success as a global boxing star stops in Chicago on May 26. And like Mick, Chicago is second to none as an international stage for expanding his fan base,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. “His embedded fan base in Chicago makes it a natural for him to headline an internationally-televised event."
For his pro debut, Conlan (1-0, one KO), from Belfast, was led into the ring by UFC superstar Conor McGregor. But once the bell rang to start the fight, it was all Conlan, out-boxing and out-slugging the more experienced Tim Ibarra (4-5, one KO), of Denver, winning the fight by a third-round knockout.
Conlan, 25, from Belfast, 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 trains in Los Angeles with Manny Robles and spars regularly with Robles’ champion fighters.
Alvarado (34-4, 23 KOs) of Denver, has several notable fights on his impressive resume, including a rematch victory over Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios, on March 30, 2013, which not only avenged Alvarado's loss to Rios in 2012's Fight of the Year, but also made Alvarado the new WBO junior welterweight world champion.
Notable Alvarado knockout victims have included Breidis Prescott, Ray Narh, Emmanuel Clottey and Cesar Bazan. In 2012, Alvarado fought in two Fights of the Year-nominated fights.
On April 14, 2012, Alvarado went toe-to-toe for 10 brutal and exciting rounds winning a unanimous decision over Mauricio Herrera (18-1, 7 KOs). Herrera entered that fight world-rated No. 7 and riding a two-year, five-bout winning streak, highlighted by victories over future world champion Ruslan Provodnikov (17-0) and Mike Dallas, Jr. (17-1-1).
That was followed by his first fight with Rios in October. Alvarado's world title reign ended in his first defense, on October 19, 2013, where he suffered a12th-round TKO to Ruslan Provodnikov in front of a sold-out crowd in his Denver homecoming.
Saucedo, (24-0, 15 KOs), from Oklahoma City, is world-rated No. 8 by the WBO. Trained by 2015 BWAA Trainer of the Year Abel Sanchez, Saucedo returns to the ring fresh from dishing out a second-round TKO to Johnny Garcia in a bout that took place on the undercard of Conlan’s pro debut. Saucedo, 22, is co-managed by Churchill Management, which includes filmmaker Peter Berg as a principal.
Promoted by Top Rank, tickets to Conlan’s Chicago debut are priced at $102, $52 and $32, including the facility fee, and can be purchased at the UIC Pavilion Box Office, Ticketmaster.com and all Ticketmaster retail locations. To charge by phone call 800-745-3000. The box office is open Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office accepts, cash, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. They do not accept personal checks, or American Express.