Jason Cunningham set to face former world amateur champion Michael Conlan
Jason Cunningham has been handed a mouthwatering pre-Christmas present with the opportunity to face former world amateur champion Michael Conlan.
The Woodlands fighter will face Conlan at Manchester Arena on December 22 as the highly-rated Belfast featherweight makes his first appearance on English soil.
Conlan '“Â brother of fellow fighter Jamie '“Â will be taking part in his tenth fight after making his debut at Madison Square Garden Theatre, where he was walked to the ring by controversial MMA star Conor McGregor.
A superstar in Northern Ireland long before he made his professional debut due to his decorated amateur career, big things are expected of the 26-year-old.
But he is forecasting a tough test against two-time Commonwealth champion Cunningham.
"He is a good, experienced fighter who has been in with some top guys and I am looking forward to facing this challenge head on in only my tenth fight," Conlan said.
"It is something I am excited about and something where I believe I can show the best Michael Conlan.
"This is maybe the first time I will be facing someone who can speak proper English! The fans will know him and I rate Jason Cunningham, but I believe come fight night I will show my class and how good I actually am.
"I have been calling for stiffer opposition for a while now, although I know my fight in Belfast was a tough test (against Adeilson Dos Santos), but I quite easily outboxed that dude.
"The fact that Jason is known for giving it a go and not backing down - and with it being an opponent who will bring a fanbase with him - it will be a first for me. It is something I need to experience.
"There is no doubt in my mind that I will prepare strenuously because this dude will provide a tough challenge in a fight that he will believe he can win."
Cunningham claimed the Central Area super bantamweight title in his last fight, bouncing back from consecutive defeats against highly-rated prospects Reece Bellotti and Jordan Gill.