Michael Conlan tops AIBA world rankings
Conlan equals John Joe Nevin’s achievement by becoming number one bantamweight
Michael Conlan: “Picking up the world number one spot is a great achievement.” Photograph: Brendan Moran/ Sportsfile/Web Summit
Michael Conlan, the most recent Irish boxing World Champion, is this week officially ranked as the number one bantamweight in the world. The west Belfast 23-year-old, who is coached by his father John, moved into the top position with 2,150 points.
Conlan equals John Joe Nevin’s achievement. Nevin also topped the world rankings as a bantamweight before turning professional after winning Olympic bronze in London 2012.
“Definitely I think I’ve earned it this year,” said Conlan on Tuesday. “I’ve gone out there and beaten everybody that I could beat. So picking up the world number one spot is a great achievement.
“It’s been a long time coming. I’ve dedicated my whole life to boxing. I’ve been boxing for 17 years. It’s been very, very tough, but I’ve earned it.”
It draws to a close a sensational year in which he qualified for the Rio Olympic Games next August through the World Series of Boxing. Also the current Commonwealth Games champion, Conlan now hopes to improve on the bronze medal he won on London by going further in 2016.
Katie Taylor, who has constantly held the world number one position at lightweight (60kg) since the first of her five World Championship wins in Delhi in 2006, is the only other Irish boxer to earn the top ranking.
Joe Ward, who lost out in the final of this year’s World Championship to the Cuban defending champion, Julio Ceasar de la Cruz and who has also qualified for Rio next summer, is ranked third in the 81kg class.