NEW YORK - Michael Conlan marched into his pro boxing debut alongside UFC champion Conor McGregor and picked up a third-round TKO of Tim Ibarra in a spirited St. Patrick's Day scene Friday night.
Conlan is a former Irish amateur star who gained fame after a disputed defeat to Russia's Vladimir Nikitin at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He was joined at the Theater at Madison Square Garden by McGregor, an Irish mixed martial artist who holds the lightweight UFC belt. Conlan entered the ring sporting an oversized green top hat, and McGregor followed with an Irish flag draped across his shoulder.
Conlan was a big favorite against Ibarra (4-5) in his debut, which was scheduled to be a six-round fight. Conlan didn't win a medal in Rio, but he did make some news. After losing a decision to Nikitin, he flashed obscene gestures at the judges, then sent a tweet to Vladimir Putin suggesting the Russian president helped fix the fight.