Luis Alberto Lopez reminds Michael Conlan: 'Let's not forget that I am the champion'

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Luis Alberto Lopez vs. Michael Conlan press conference (Gabriel Rivas/TopRank)

Michael Conlan may be the hometown favourite when he takes on Luis Alberto Lopez at the SSE Arena in Belfast on Saturday, but he's not the current IBF featherweight champion.

That distinction belongs to Lopez, the 29-year-old Mexican who is putting his title on the line against Conlan after winning the belt from Josh Warrington in December.

Just like he did in the Warrington fight, Lopez knows that he'll be stepping into hostile territory on Saturday. It's something he welcomes.

“I am used to this," Lopez said at Thursday's pre-fight press conference. "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.”

Lopez (27-2, 15 KOs) may be a new champion, only holding the IBF belt for a little more than five months, but he's got his eyes on bigger and better things — including a decisive victory over Conlan (18-1, 9 KOs).

“I want to show that I am a true champion," he said. "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.”

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