WINNING world honours in Belfast as a professional would be a "dream come true" for Michael Conlan who has vowed to relieve Luis Alberto Lopez of the IBF featherweight title at the SSE Arena on May 27.
Conlan was moments from the WBA title against Leigh Wood last March when he was stopped in dramatic fashion in the final round.
Having come up agonisingly short in 2022's World Fight of the Year, the West Belfast man insists glorious defeats are of no intent and he will get the job done this time around.
When making the switch to the professional ranks, the 2015 world amateur champion immediately set his sights on becoming Ireland's first male champion on both codes and he will get his second chance in front of a certain full house in his home city with tickets expected to be snapped up in double-quick time when they go on sale next Friday (pre-sale on Wednesday), while BT Sport and ESPN will provide live pictures on either side of the Atlantic.
That gives an indication of the status of this match-up in the 126lb division, but the only thing on Conlan's mind is etching his name into the glorious tapestry of world champions from Belfast.
"This means the world to me," he said at Thursday's press conference at the Europa Hotel.
"It's been just over a year since the last time I fought for a world title and lost, but I believe I rebuilt the right way. Now I'm on the cusp of becoming a world champion again and I believe I will do it this time.
"It would be a lifetime goal achieved and I've said since I began boxing that I wanted to become a world champion of the professional game.
"If I don't, I'll be very underwhelmed and disappointed as it will feel like I've underachieved in my professional career, so the fact I have the chance to do it in front of the home crowd will tick it off the list."
🚨 Wednesday 29th March Pre Sale— Conlan Boxing (@ConlanBoxing) March 22, 2023
🎟️ Tickets on sale Friday 31st March
🔜 Undercard Announcements https://t.co/1kMWaCtZwE
Home advantage is a bonus for Conlan, but it will take much more than that to dethrone Lopez who will not be intimidated by the Belfast crowd having won the title against England's Josh Warrington in Leeds on December 10.
The 29-year-old Mexican is tough, unorthodox and has power in his fists, his style primed to punish mistakes he can draw.
Therefore, Conlan acknowledges he must be switched open for the duration but having paid the price against Wood when he expected too much energy early in their meeting, he has vowed not to make the same mistakes again.
"I believe he's a fantastic fighter, very dangerous and unorthodox," he acknowledged.
"He does some crazy stuff in the ring and will come into this fight with massive confidence.
"He went to Leeds and won the world title, so is coming here to defend it and will come full of belief. But I believe I will beat him and beat him well.
"I've just worked on improving and think what will stand to me will be experience.
"That world title fight (against Wood) where it was 100 miles per hour for 12 rounds and obviously I lost, but I was putting my foot on the gas at times when I shouldn't have.
"I know the mistakes I made so go into this one conscious of not making them again."
It could prove to be a glorious couple of weeks for Irish boxing with Katie Taylor bidding to become undisputed at two weights when she challenges Chantelle Cameron at Dublin's 3Arena on May 20 and Conlan set for his night of destiny seven days later.
The Belfast man is backing his old Irish amateur team-mate to do the business and admits he would love to be there to cheer her on, but has his own business to concentrate on.
Luis Alberto Lopez 🆚 Michael Conlan 🥊— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) March 22, 2023
Can @mickconlan11 get it done on home soil? 🏆
📅 May 27th 📍 The SSE Arena, Belfast
📺 LIVE on BT Sport #Boxing pic.twitter.com/lIHQZbAXrx
"I'm half devastated as I'd love to be there and the atmosphere there will be crazy," he admitted.
"Katie is a national treasure and every single person in Ireland will be wishing her well, me included. She's the closest person to a saint I've ever met and I'm looking forward to seeing her do it.
"Irish boxing is back at the forefront of Irish sport and I believe those two weeks in May will push it right to where it needs to be.
"The whole of Ireland will be talking about it and the whole of West Belfast will be in the Odyssey Arena. I expect it will be packed out and a raucous crowd.
"I don't think that will affect the opponent (Lopez) but will act as an extra man behind my back.
"His whole career he has travelled so I'm not relying on an advantage because of the crowd, but I just know that if you're down or need lifting, the crowd can do that. I don't think that will come into the fight as I think I will put on a masterclass and pure boxing and win comfortably."
His brother and manager, Jamie, acknowledges it will be no easy task, but at the top level, nothing is straightforward.
He predicts a battle that will long be remembered with two top-level operators going head-to-head and is delighted to have secured home advantage against the champion.
"Getting the world title here was always the dream and although we had to go to Nottingham the last time, it's a major coup to get Luis Alberto Lopez here," he said.
"He is a great champion, very dangerous, heavy-handed, very unorthodox and this will be Michael's hardest fight of his career, but having it in Belfast is a massive advantage to Michael.
"I think we'll see one of the highest-level featherweight title fights in the world: two highly-skilled fighters coming up against each other but it's one of these nights Belfast has craved for a number of years.
"It will be a fantastic week for Irish boxing with Katie Taylor challenging for unified world titles the week before and Michael this week (later), so it's like waiting for a bus as two come along at once. Irish boxing is booming and fans are the real winners."