Ireland’s Conlan Beats Ruiz Via TKO

In front of fans and family, Michael Conlan continued to prove just how much of a hot commodity he can be when given the chance. At Falls Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Conlan defeated Diego Ruiz via TKO after nine rounds. He successfully defended the WBO Inter-Continental Featherweight Championship while also grabbing the WBA title.

“I’m a proud West Belfast boy,” Conlan stated in his post-fight interview. “To be able to do this in the park where I grew up is unbelievable.”

Originally scheduled to face Vladimir Nikitin, his foe from the Olympics, Conlan (12-0) was informed that Nikitin had to withdraw from the fight due to a torn biceps. Ruiz (21-2), who never fought outside of Argentina until now, was ready and willing to accept the challenge. Unfortunately, for him, Conlan was that much better.

Conlan worked the jab early, which would be a theme of the night. In the first round, Ruiz did not land any punches, but he finally landed one in the second. Switching to southpaw in the second, Conlan showed his versatility early on. By round three, Conlan had thrown and landed 16 body shots.

The first true highlight of the bout didn’t really have anything to do with the fighters. Ruiz’s father Ruben, who is also his trainer, jumped on the apron to protest a kidney punch and right behind the head by Conlan. While the referee didn’t act, it almost looked as if he would comply with another ruling, as Ruben waved the white towel around while doing so. Regardless, the fight went on.

Round nine was when Conlan decided to end it. With 1:34 into the round, Conlan hit a sweeping right hand to the stomach of Ruiz which brought him down. A few moments later, he couldn’t continue and the win went to Conlan. In the end, Conlan landed 105 punches on 478 attempts while Ruiz landed 32 on only 250 attempts.

Following the bout, Conlan was adament about going for a world title. He hoped to either have a fight of that nature inside the main building of Madison Square Garden or back at Falls Park.


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