Michael Conlan switched to southpaw to hammer out a Madison Square Garden hat-trick in a two-round demolition of David Berna at the iconic New York boxing venue on St Patrick’s Day.
The Hungarian feather was down in the first and second rounds after lefts to the body and head and was taken into protective custody by ref Eddie Claudio with Conlan punishing his opponent on the ropes.
The win, Conlan’s first under new coach Adam Booth, improves the undefeated two-time Irish Olympian to six straight victories and also improves his KO ratio to 83%.
The first round body punch that dropped Berna, who had won 15 of his 17 fights prior to Saturday’s scheduled eight-rounder, was textbook boxing.
“Once I turned to the southpaw stance I felt that that shot was going to be a comfortable shot for me to land. It put him down, it looked like it sucked the life out of him so I was happy,” said Belfast-born Conlan who won at the Garden last St Patrick’s Day and in December.
The 26-year-old was happy with his performance and believes Saturday’s TKO was an improvement his debut victory at the same venue on March 17, 2017.
The only Irish boxer to be ranked No. 1 in the world besides Katie Taylor and John Joe Nevin in the Elite amateur ranks, also wants to fight at home for the first time in the paid ranks.
“I feel that I’ve improved in my first year as a pro, especially under my new coach. I want to fight back in Belfast,” added the London 2012 bronze medallist.
“There was talk about it (a Belfast fight) being in June. Look at this crowd, we’d sell out any arena in Ireland. We gotta get back to Ireland.
“It (the victory) meant a lot to me. I wanted to come in here and put on a great performance which I felt I did, a better performance than last year. I feel I’ve just improved as an all-round fighter.
“I’ve got the experience of professional boxing, compared to when I just turned professional. It was like a sprint, I just wanted to take them out which was the wrong thing to do, instead of breaking them down.”
Meanwhile, unbeaten Port-laoise super-bantam TJ Doheny, who boxes out of Bondi, Australia, improved to 19 wins at the House of Blues in Boston on St Patrick’s night.
The 31-year-old, who beat Carl Frampton in the 2006 semi-finals at the Irish Elites, stopped Connecticut’s Mike Oliver in the second round of a scheduled eight round co-feature in New England.
Saturday’s fight was very much a stay-busy outing for the Laois southpaw who earned an IBF world title shot after beating Thailand’s Pipat Chaiporn in Bangkok last December.
Meantime, the Irish Elite team will meet the USA for a third time and final time in Manchester, New Hampshire on Wednesday night.
The Americans, under former Irish head coach Billy Walsh, hold a 2-0 lead following wins over the 17-strong Irish male and female panel in Boston and Springfield last week.
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