Dublin super-flyweight Jamie Conlan, nicknamed “The Mexican”, last night came up against a real and very tough one in Junior Granados (now 13-3-1) at The National Stadium in the City – the world’s only purpose built boxing arena – and survived numerous scares – including 2 hurtful knockdowns – to battle back from the brink and take the fight on scores of 96-92, 95-92 and 95-93.
The crowd in attendance witnessed a thrilling headliner with Conlan stating brightly in the opener, only to find the visibly smaller Granados undaunted and intent on walking forward and landing his own heavy-handed shots, hurting the Irishman badly in the 4th round, leaving the dazed and confused Conlan on his feet but wondering just what the hell had hit him as he ground things out until the bell.
The determined Irishman, roared on by the partisan crowd, gradually got back up on his toes and started to box his way back into contention, until he was floored by a body shot in the 7th that sucked the life from him and left him struggling to his feet, breathless and in danger of being stopped.
Buoyed by his success, Granados pounced immediately following the count and backed Conlan up on the ropes, unloading with a massive flurry of unanswered punches that would have seen many fights waved off. Clearly in survival mode, referee Mick Vann gave Conlan every opportunity, yet the Irishman was floored again near the rounds end, and looked certain to be down and out.
Gutsy until the end, he punched the canvas in frustration and bravely rose at the count of 9 and a half, only to hear the bell seconds later. It couldn’t have come soon enough.
It was only the size of his heart and the roar of the crowd that saw Conlan stylish through the last 2 rounds of the scheduled 10, taking the unanimous decision.
Scoring the fight at home I was in agreement with commentator Barry Jones, who scored the fight a draw – and there would rightly be some who believe the Mexican fighter was slightly hard done by, even as the ‘away’ fighter.
Conlan, who improved to 14-0, with 8 early finishes, said ringside afterward;
“That was a tough, tough fight. Granados said he’d come to fight and he meant it. I’ve got to learn from the mistakes I made – but one thing’s for sure, I’ve proved I’ve got a big heart and big balls for the fight and nobody is going to come here and beat me. They’ll have to nail me to the floor.”