Top Rank’s CEO, Bob Arum, is looking to get Irish Olympian Michael Conlan in position for a world title shot by the end of this year.
Conlan is scheduled to fight on May 1 in London.
The unbeaten boxer will be the co-featured attraction to the IBF flyweight title fight between champion Moruti Mthalane and challenger Sunny Edwards.
Conlan is the number one ranked fighter under the WBO. He will face Ionut Baluta, who is ranked at nine by the WBO.
A win could lead to a mandatory title shot at WBO super bantamweight champion Stephen Fulton.
Baluta has proven to be a darkhorse in the last year, with unexpected wins over TJ Doheny and David Oliver Joyce.
A win over Baluta will lead to much bigger things for Conlan.
“Mick will fight at the start of May and then the plan will be to move for the world title shot. We could put that on in Madison Square Garden and he would fill it up. I’m very encouraged that the pandemic will be abated in the States because we are now looking that by the end of May there will be enough vaccines to inoculate all of the population. So, by June we can start doing events with full capacity,” Arum told The Belfast Telegraph.
Conlan’s brother and manager, Jamie Conlan, is on board with Arum’s plan to have a title shot secured by year’s end.
“We’re looking at towards the end of the year for the fight with Fulton so if everything goes to plan against Baluta we are still holding out some hope of another fight in August in Belfast but obviously we know at the moment that is unlikely. But the bigger picture is dealing with Baluta and then we are firmly in the position to face Fulton,” said Jamie.
“Baluta is gunning for a hat-trick over Irish fighters and we know that at this stage of Michael’s career he is going to be a good test. Baluta showed how dangerous he is with the wins over Doheny and David Oliver Joyce so it’s just the fight Michael needs ahead of a world title shot.”