Both Michael Conlan and Jordan Gill head to Belfast’s SSE Arena on Saturday knowing defeat isn’t an option if they are to continue fighting at the top level.

The pair collide in a twelve-round super-featherweight matchup this weekend with both seeking a return to winning ways following losses in their most recent outings.

A host of Irish talent also features on the Matchroom Boxing undercard with coverage of the main broadcast set to begin at 7pm UK time.

Conlan: ‘I’m the best I’ve been in a long time’

Conlan (18-2, 9KOs) returns to the scene of his damaging fifth-round knockout defeat to IBF champion Luis Alberto Lopez which saw the Irishman suffer his second professional loss in May.

The 32-year-old also lost to former WBA champion Leigh Wood in March last year with a sensational final-round stoppage and was unable to oust Mexico’s Lopez in his second shot at world honours.

Conlan has since opted to leave esteemed trainer Adam Booth to team up with Cuba’s Pedro Diaz.

The former enjoyed a successful spell with six-time world champion Miguel Cotto and Conlan insists the move will aid him well heading into his fight with Gill.

Conlan parted ways with Booth following his loss to Lopez in May. Photo by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

“I’m in a great place – mentally, physically, – I’m in the best place I’ve been in a long time. I’m really excited about fight night rather than being excited about it just being over,” he said at the fight week press conference.

“Going to Miami [and] training with Pedro, I have a new lease of life. I feel like I’ve hit the reset button. He’s not gonna teach me anything new in eight weeks [but] he’s just dusted me off and brought me back to doing what I do best.”

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Gill returns after a 14 month hiatus

Cambridgeshire’s Gill enters the evening on the back of two brutal showings against Karim Guerfi and Kiko Martinez.

The 29-year-old stunned Guerfi with a ninth-round knockout in February 2022 after taking a hammer up until that point which saw him suffer a heavy knockdown in the seventh round.

A huge right hand meant Gill claimed the European featherweight title which he eventually lost eight months later after four punishing rounds against Spain’s Martinez.

The latter scored two knockdowns in the third and another two in the fourth before Gill’s trainer Dave Coldwell mercifully threw in the towel to confirm his charge’s third professional defeat.

14 months on, Gill hopes to upset the applecart in his new weight division to setup a huge domestic showdown of his own in 2024, providing he makes it past Conlan.

“I’m feeling the benefits of it [moving up]. I’m feeling strong, so tomorrow on the scales I’m not gonna look like a skeleton like I did at 126,” he said this week.

“There’s only one way to find out [what I’ve got] and that’s the fight on Saturday. I believe I can hurt him and win this fight.”

Gill was floored four times prior to his stoppage defeat to Martinez 14 months ago. Photo by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

McKenna and Crocker collide on packed undercard

Initially set to headline the show before the main event was added, Belfast welterweights Tyrone McKenna (23-3-1, 6KOs) and Lewis Crocker (17-0, 10KOs) are set to trade blows across ten rounds in the chief support.

McKenna heads into the bout on the back of a unanimous decision win over former British champion Chris Jenkins in August last year, while Crocker is yet to taste defeat in 17 professional contests.

Belfast super-welterweight Caoimhin Agyarko (13-0, 7KOs) also faces his toughest test to date as he finally meets former British champion Troy Williamson (20-1-1, 14KOs).

The pair have traded words via social media in previous months and Agyarko hopes to prove he has what it takes to succeed at championship level against Williamson who is plotting his own route back to title shots at 154lbs.

Belfast super-lightweight Sean McComb (17-1, 5KOs) also collides with Liverpool’s Sam Maxwell (17-2, 11KOs) over ten rounds.

Agyarko and Williamson come face-to-face at Friday’s weigh-in. Photo by Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.

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