Former featherweight world title challenger Michael Conlan (17-1, 8 KOs) bounced back from a previous loss in his last fight to defeat the heavy-handed journeyman Miguel Marriaga (30-6, 26 KOs) by a 10-round unanimous decision on Saturday night at the SSE Arena in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
The two-time Irish Olympian Conlan was coming off a 12th-round knockout defeat against WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood last March in Nottingham, England.
Tonight, Conlan looked spectacular, dropping the 35-year-old Colombian Marriaga three times en route to winning a 10-round decision by the scores 99-88, 99-88, and 99-89.
Two of the knockdowns looked bogus, as Marriaga was clearly hit with a rabbit punch in the first one. In the second knockdown, Marriaga slipped on the canvas at the same time Conlan threw a shot. Given all that, it was difficult to view those as true knockdowns, but it wasn’t surprising that the referee ruled them legit.
In the ninth round, Conlan connected with a straight left that staggered and dropped Marriaga in a genuine knockdown.
Conlan got a little wreckless in the 10th, leaving himself open to a huge uppercut from Marriaga that appeared to hurt him badly. To his credit, Conlan made it out of the round, but perhaps only because Marriaga lacked the accuracy to finish the job as Wood had.
“I had to get rid of a lot of demons tonight,” said Conlan after the contest. “Even in the last round, he hit me with a shot. That guy can punch. He hit me with a jab in the first round, and it was like, ‘Oh, this guy actually can bang.’ I had to be careful and use my skills, which I did.
“In the last round, he caught me with a shot,” continued Conlan. “Listen, I’ve been using my legs all night. I was a bit off the pace. He was pushing it. He landed a good shot. He buckled me a little bit. I felt it, and for me, to kind of come through that and it’s the last round. I’m back, baby. I’m ready for any of them,” said Conlan.
In the co-feature bout, welterweight contender Tyrone McKenna (23-3-1, 6 KOs) defeated Chris Jenkins by a close 10 round unanimous decision. The scores were 96-95, 96-95, and 97-94.
Super middleweight Padriag McCrory (14-0, 8 KOs) stopped Marco Antonio Periban (26-6-1, 17 KOs) in the fifth round. McCrory dropped the overmatched Periban four times in the contest. Once in the second, and another three times in the fifth. The time of the stoppage was at 2:14 mark of the fifth.
Undefeated welterweight prospect Paddy Donovan (9-0, 6 KOs) dominated Tom Hill (10-3, 2 KOs), winning by a 10-round points decision by a score 80-72.