Michael Conlan wins first title as a professional

Paddy Barnes’ ‘floater’ is called off, while Dillian Whyte knocks out Dereck Chisora

Michael Conlan celebrates victory over Jason Cunningham with his WBO Intercontinental Featherweight Championship belt. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Michael Conlan celebrates victory over Jason Cunningham with his WBO Intercontinental Featherweight Championship belt. Photograph: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

 

Irish boxer Michael Conlan won the first title of his professional career when the former Olympic medallist beat Jason Cunningham to become the new WBO Inter-Continental Featherweight champion.

The Belfast native was fighting on the undercard of Carl Frampton’s defeat to Josh Warrington at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night - and he was too powerful for Cunningham, winning 97-92 according to two judges and 98-92 on the third card.

The win gives Conlan a perfect 10-0 as a professional, as the London 2012 bronze medallist went 10 rounds for the first time and looked impressive throughout.

Paddy Barnes was also set to fight on Saturday night’s undercard, against two-time Commonwealth title challenger Isaac Quaye in a six-rounder. However, his ‘floater’ was called off as the show was running too late and the headliner contest needed to go ahead in line with TV schedules and management of the venue.

Meanwhile, Anthony Joshua has told Dillian Whyte he is prepared to make the next defence of his IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles in a rematch against him — if Deontay Wilder cannot be tempted to abandon plans to again fight Tyson Fury.

Whyte produced a devastating stoppage of Dereck Chisora in the 11th round at London’s 02 Arena on Saturday to further his claims to again fight his rival at Wembley Stadium on April 13th, even with Joshua considering abandoning that date to instead fight in America for the first time.

Dillian Whyte knocks out Derek Chisora at the O2 Arena. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images
Dillian Whyte knocks out Derek Chisora at the O2 Arena. Photograph: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images

The 30-year-old Whyte called Joshua out once Chisora had recovered from his chilling knockout, but Joshua, 29, and unusually booed by many of those present at The O2, said: “If Deontay Wilder is serious and he is going to fight Tyson Fury and doesn’t want to become undisputed champion, Dillian you will get a shot.

“Dillian’s an idiot, because I showed him some respect. I knocked him clean out when we fought (in 2015), but I said let’s forget that because we have both improved so let’s prove who is the better fighter now.

“He starts piping up, I said ‘All right, cool’. I’m quite respectful but if Dillian steps in the ring with me you better believe me, none of these heavyweights are on my level, and I keep my lid on because I don’t want to explode on none of them.

“If Dillian’s serious, he can come get this work as well, but when the crowd want to see the fight with Dillian, I don’t want to hear no talk when I whoop him, ‘Oh he has had an easy touch, you should have fought Wilder’. Any of them are free to step in that ring with me.

“Everyone knows I need to fight Deontay Wilder, I’m ready. I’m proud of what Dillian has done. If it’s not Wilder, it’s Whyte over (Jarrell) Miller.”

It was in response to Whyte insisting: “I deserve my shot, I’ve worked my way up”, that Joshua labelled him an “idiot”, and the two fighters’ promoter Eddie Hearn said it was a case of “when not if” their rematch is made.

Revisiting his victory over Chisora, Whyte said: “I hurt him in the first round and thought ‘Hey, relax’. I knew it would come.

“I threw a lazy right hand and dipped a bit, (then) boom! That shot is going to put a lot of people away.

“Let’s go (Anthony), let’s go!”

Hearn explained: “It’s a matter of when, not if, because I think Dillian Whyte is going to become the WBO mandatory.

“Chisora and Whyte did themselves proud. It goes down as another classic.

“If Deontay Wilder doesn’t want to fight Anthony, then I think it should be Dillian Whyte.”

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