By Thomas Lyons
Considered one of the most thriving stables in British Boxing, trainer Adam Booth has established a formidable group of talented boxers, including double world champion at Bantamweight, Ryan Burnett, outstanding amateur Josh Kelly, former world title challenger with only 12 fights to his professional record in Charlie Edwards and world recognised middleweight contender and former world champion, Andy Lee. To add to the array of potential on board, sensational Irish amateur Michael Conlan has moved back to the UK to train on a permanent basis, deciding to leave former trainer Manny Robles, in the States, on good terms.
Conlan believes its a decision that will help take his career to the next level, regarding Booth as “the best trainer in the UK” when speaking to IFL TV after the announcement was made. Since signing with his promoter Bob Arum and Top Rank, as well as situating his training across the pond in America, with top class sparring in the likes of WBO Featherweight champion Oscar Valdez, a regular formality, Conlan will still keep the high-level calibre of fighters in training camp with the list mentioned above. He has also suggested that his close relationship with Robles will allow him to arrange top-class sparring whilst being away from his training camp. With the work Booth has done in the past to help mould fighters like George Groves and David Haye, as well as the progression made with Burnett and Kelly, Conlan will be well looked after and kept in good hands.
The undefeated Belfast man (5-0, 4KOs) will next be out in action in Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17), presumably on another stacked card, packed with world championship action. Conlan hinted at the inclusion of Terence Crawford, who has moved up to 147, to feature on this card with the addition of a World Light-Heavyweight title fight. The 26-year old currently campaigns at Featherweight, one of the hottest divisions out there with countryman Carl Frampton fighting four-weight world champion Nonito Donaire in Belfast the month after. Also within the mix are WBO champion Valdez and WBC champion Gary Russell Jr. Domestically, another massive fight has just been announced for May, with IBF champion Lee Selby defending his title against Josh Warrington at Elland Road. Although its early days for Conlan, whose easing his way into the professional ranks, off the back of a controversial and very disappointing Rio Olympics in 2016, he’ll be keeping a firm eye on the prize, becoming a world champion when the time comes.
However, since turning over, he’s looked impressive against all five opponents put in front of him and certainly making improvements once he moves up the ladder and gulp in class. Brother Jamie, who recently lost to Jerwin Ancajas for the IBF World Super-Flyweight title in his first move up in challenging for the world title, has also contributed significantly to the state of boxing in Belfast, and with the likes of Frampton, Burnett and the Conlan brothers carrying the flag, more exciting and entertaining night will likely be delivered in the near future.
Although 2017 was a terrific year for Booth and his fighters, the inclusion of Mick Conlan will generate more anticipation in 2018, with his fighters stepping up into big title fights and edging closer to their world title ambitions.