Boxing | Conlan’s St. Patrick’s Day fight to be held behind closed doors

Michael Conlan’s fight against Belmar Preciado will go ahead behind closed doors at Madison Square Garden on St. Patrick’s Day.

Fears over the coronavirus, which have seen New York’s famous St. Patrick’s Day festival cancelled, cast doubt over whether the fight would go ahead.

Top Rank have announced that the fight will go ahead at the Hulu Centre, but that the only people in attendance will be the fighters and their necessary team members, as well as essential production and support staff.

“Due to the Coronavirus, no fans will be allowed into the arena,” Conlan wrote on Twitter.  

“The show goes on, the hard work has been done and Tuesday I’ll put on a performance to get the W (win) for my fans, this one is for you guys.”

Both fights will still be shown live on ESPN, and full refunds for tickets will be available at the point of purchase.

Belfast featherweight Conlan will fight at the iconic New York venue, where he made his professional debut, on St. Patrick’s Day for the fourth successive year.    

Conlan (13-0) won all three of his fights in 2019, including a points decision over his former Olympic foe Vladimir Nikitin.

The 28-year-old will now take on Columbian Preciado, who represents a considerable step up in quality from Conlan’s recent opponents, in a 10-round fight at Hulu Theater.

Preciado (23-2) has won two successive fights since suffering defeat to former world title challenger Hiroshige Osawa in December 2018.