Michael Conlan was left gutted when watching Carl Frampton’s failed bid to become Ireland’s first three-weight world champion against Jamel Herring last weekend.
As an outstanding amateur frequently finishing on podiums at multiple international tournaments, Conlan possessed hopes of emulating Frampton’s professional success and he can get close to that dream on April 30 when he takes on Romania’s Ionut Baluta.
Speaking on his friend’s loss to Herring, Conlan was quick to pay tribute to Frampton’s remarkable career. "I was confident Carl would beat him as the fight drew near but unfortunately it wasn't to be,” Conlan told BBC Sport. “If you had the Carl of a few years ago he beats Jamal comfortably, even at that weight.
"Now he can go and enjoy his family and not have to worry about fighting ever again. It's always sad to see a legend leave the sport and I'm sure he'll still be involved in boxing in some format down the line.”
With Irish fight fans disappointed following Frampton’s final setback, an opportunity has now arisen for Conlan to push onto world level and aim to replicate the success enjoyed by Frampton for himself. Starting with Baluta at the end of the month, Conlan intends to use the fight as a platform for bigger showdowns.
"Now in Belfast we don't have Carl Frampton anymore as a fighter - it's big shoes to fill and I hope to fill them myself. I know I have the ability and talent to do what I need to do - I just need to put it into action and I'm in a position now where I can start to make big gains on that. Starting off on 30 April I'll beat this dude and then I'll win a world title this year to get the ball rolling at a fast pace."