Luis Alberto “El Venado” Lopez and Michael “Mick” Conlan are set to clash for Lopez's IBF featherweight world title this Saturday, May 27th, at a sold-out SSE Arena in Conlan’s hometown of Belfast, Northern Ireland. Lopez (27-2, 15 KOs) will make the first defense of his title after capturing the crown against Josh Warrington in enemy territory in Leeds, England. Conlan (24-4 including the World Series of Boxing) will attempt to win a world title following last March's valiant stand versus Leigh Wood for the WBA regular title. Undercard fighters include undefeated featherweights Nick Ball (17-0, 10 KOs) versus Ludumo Lamati (21-0-1, 11 KOs), and IBO junior lightweight champion Anthony Cacace (20-1, 7 KOs) defending against Polish standout Damian Wrzesinski (26-2-2, 7 KOs) in a twelve-round clash.
Promoted by Top Rank and Conlan Boxing, in association with Queensberry Promotions, Lopez-Conlan and undercard bouts will stream live and exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S. beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET/10:30 a.m. PT. At Thursday's press conference, this is what the fighters and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum had to say.
Luis Alberto Lopez
“I want to show that I am a true champion. I’ve always been the ‘B side’ throughout my entire career, beating prospects. Now as a world champion I’m going to do more of the same. I want to finish Michael Conlan and then face the other world champions.”
“I am used to this. I’ve fought in the United States. I’ve already fought in the United Kingdom two times. I am used to them not wanting me to win. Everyone wants to see me lose, but let’s not forget that I am the champion.”
“They always say the same thing. They say they’re going to beat me, that they’re going to knock me out, that I’m going to look foolish, that they’re going to send me to go play soccer. They have told me everything. But at the end of the day, when we’re both in the ring, nothing of what they say ever happens.”
“I’m expecting the best Luis Alberto Lopez. I think he’s going to bring everything. He is going to be in the best condition. He’s going to try to knock me out, so I’m prepared for everything he’s going to try to do.”
“I’ve experienced a lot of atmospheres throughout my career now. I’ve experienced it, so I know how to handle it now. I’m looking forward to the fight because I know I’m going to go in there and perform and beat him.”
“He says his plan is to end things quickly. But I know he’s changed trainers a few times throughout this training camp. There are probably other things going on with him, so I don’t think he truly believes that. He has to say that for the cameras. And that’s okay. That’s no problem. I respect him as a fighter, but on Saturday night, I will be champion.”
Promoter Bob Arum
“It’s been a great run with Mick. He’s a terrific young man. He is a really good fighter, and he’s stepping to the plate against a really tough world champion in Luis Alberto Lopez, who doesn’t hesitate to go into his opponent’s hometown and perform spectacularly. Mick knows it’s not going to be an easy fight. It’s going to be a very tough fight. All the people here in Belfast will have the opportunity to watch a classic, competitive championship fight. It may end up being the fight of the year.”