Michael Conlan vs Jordan Gill full card results: Gill reveals year of torment after sensational performance to topple Belfast favourite

Michael Conlan had his world title ambitions reduced to rubble as Jordan Gill stunned the former Irish Olympian with a destructive seventh-round victory in Belfast.

Returning to Belfast’s SSE Arena, the scene of his KO loss to IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez in May, one-time amateur standout Conlan (18-3, 9 KOs) suffered an even more damaging setback and it is tough to see where a career once tipped for the stars in the paid ranks goes from here.

Like Conlan, Gill (28-2-1, 9 KOs) was also boxing for the first time since being brutally stopped in a title fight — by veteran former world champion Kiko Martinez to lose his European title last October — changing trainers and stepping up to 130lbs. 

It quickly became clear that the additional poundage favoured the huge betting underdog Gill, who remarkably boxed above the super-featherweight limit as a 13-year-old before boiling his body down as a senior.

WATCH: Michael Conlan vs. Jordan Gill on DAZN

Conlan put together typically skilful and flashy combinations but he was open to Gill’s heavier shots in the exchanges. The honey punch was a shuddering short left, which almost caused Conlan to unravel completely in round two as a follow-up right hand helped him to the canvas.

The home favourite struggled to get his legs back underneath him and had a bloodied nose by the third.

Conlan battled tenaciously against a dire situation and arguably closed things up on the scorecards through greater activity, although he was given a stern warning by referee Howard Foster for throwing an elbow after the bell at the end of the sixth.

Tellingly, Gill was happy to cover up and absorb the output from Conlan’s blurring fists, knowing his moment would come. It duly arrived a minute into round seven. The left hand again did the initial damage before a right hook behind the ear left the Irishman imperilled in the neutral corner.

A decade on from controversially halting George Groves against Carl Froch, Foster stepped in for a well-judged stoppage and Gill cupped his ear to a stunned arena.

I wanted to kill myself – Gill eyes world title after hitting rock bottom

“I want to be a world champion, I feel like I’ve done everything but become a world champion. After this win, I feel like I deserve a shot,” Gill told DAZN afterwards, flanked by new trainer Barry Smith and his father Paul Gill.

“The plan was to make Mick work. I knew he lacked efficiency and I knew I could hurt him with each hand. I hurt him in every round.”

Those were understandable sentiments after a career-best win and, after being cheered on by his great mate and former two-time WBA featherweight champion Leigh Wood from ringside, why shouldn’t Gill dream of similarly rolling the dice?

In a remarkably candid interview, the 29-year-old discussed what would normally be indescribable and unspoken torment from recent months. 

“I’ve had a hard year. After the Kiko loss, I sort of lost touch with myself,” he explained. “I broke up with my wife. On June 30, I was in a field, I drunk a litre of vodka and I was going to kill myself. Somebody came and saved me that day.

“I’ve got my own gym opening next week. I’ve turned my life around in the last four months.”

Should Michael Conlan retire from boxing?

Gill’s deeply brave and admirable words offered a reminder of the places boxing can take its combatants to when defeat hits brutally and all seems lost. Like the man who bested him tonight, Conlan will need good people around him over the coming days, weeks and months.

A decorated sportsman who represented his country with unprecedented distinction at the highest level — in 2015, he became Ireland’s first-ever men’s World Championship gold medalist — Conlan has much to be proud of. In time, he will hopefully look back on all those deeds with the fondness and warmth they deserve.

After Katie Taylor’s revenge win over Chantelle Cameron last weekend, it looked set up for Ireland’s other boxing hero of the era to start his own redemption story. But, while Gill showed the advantages of not having to cut as much weight, Conlan showed a worrying lack of punch resistance throughout. It was the same story when operating at a higher level against Lopez. 

On reflection, his dramatic and frightening final-round loss to Wood in February last year, when Conlan was punched unconscious out of the ring, was probably one of those losses from which the beaten fighter never recovers.

Plenty of sensational amateurs are unable to piece together a professional career to match. Conlan is not the first and will not be the last. But at 32, after three sapping stoppage losses, it’s time for him to find a new path and reflect upon all of those very good times.

Michael Conlan vs Jordan Gill full card results

  • Jordan Gill def. Michael Conlan (7/12 TKO); Super Featherweights
  • Lewis Crocker def. Tyrone McKenna (UD 10); Welterweights
  • Caoimhin Agyarko def. Troy Williamson (SD 10); Super Welterweights
  • Sean McComb def. Sam Maxwell (UD 10); Super Lightweights
  • Gerard Hughes def. Ruadhan Farrell (PTS 6); Super Bantamweights
  • Cameron Vuong def. Michal Dufek (TKO 4/6); Lightweights
  • Fearghus Quinn def. Angel Emilov (PTS 6); Middleweights
  • Emmanuel Buttigieg def. Mario Oliveira (TKO 1/4); Middleweights

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