Michael Conlan has made another significant change to his team.
The featherweight contender announced Saturday through his account on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, that he has parted ways with promoter Top Rank Inc. Bob Arum’s company signed Conlan after he fought at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and promoted him for 6½ years.
Northern Ireland’s Conlan (18-2, 9 KOs) twice fought for featherweight titles during his time with Top Rank, but he lost both of those 126-pound championship clashes.
“I’ve decided to part ways with @trboxing,” Conlan wrote in the statement posted to his X account. “What a ride it was, from my debut @TheGarden [Madison Square Garden] in 2017 up until now. I’m very thankful and grateful to work with such a great company, but now I feel it’s time for a change. Thank you Bob and the whole team at TR.”
The 31-year-old Conlan ended his statement with a green heart emoji, a sign that the Irishman left Top Rank on good terms.
Conlan attached several photos to his statement, including one of him and Arum putting up their middle fingers. Arum and Conlan referred to Conlan’s infamous moment in Rio de Janeiro, when he gave judges the finger in the ring after he was announced as the loser of a fight to Russia’s Vladimir Nikitin that Conlan clearly won in the bantamweight quarterfinals.
Conlan later outboxed Nikitin to win a 10-round unanimous decision in their professional fight in December 2019 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Conlan previously revealed late in September that he hired veteran Cuban trainer Pedro Diaz to replace England’s Adam Booth as his chief second.
The Belfast native was stopped in the fifth round of his most recent bout by IBF featherweight champ Luis Alberto Lopez. Mexico’s Lopez (29-2, 16 KOs) battered Conlan for most of their four-plus rounds of action, before his right uppercut dropped Conlan and caused Booth to throw in the towel at The SSE Arena Belfast.
Conlan’s contract with Top Rank expired after the Lopez loss. The two sides had talks about how to proceed thereafter and ultimately decided to part ways.
Conlan’s first title shot resulted in BoxingScene.com’s “Fight of the Year” for 2022. He led Leigh Wood on all three scorecards entering the 12th round of their fight for Wood’s WBA featherweight title, but a short shot by Wood (27-3, 16 KOs) knocked Conlan out of the ring.
Conlan fell backward onto the floor at Motorpoint Arena Nottingham in Wood’s hometown of Nottingham, England. He was counted out by referee Steve Gray, but Conlan was fortunate in that he didn’t suffer any serious injuries from that fall.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.