CAREERS are most certainly on the line at Belfast's SSE Arena tonight when Michael Conlan and Jordan Gill contest the vacant WBA International super-featherweight title.

It's make-or-break for both with the winner set to push on and the vanquished perhaps looking at the exit door.

Both men come into this fight off stoppage defeats: Conlan in his bid to claim the IBF featherweight title against Luis Alberto Lopez in May; Gill stopped in a defence of the European featherweight title against Kiko Martinez last October.

They looked healthy on the scales at the Europa Hotel at Friday's weigh-in as they both came in half a pound under their new weight limit of 130lbs.

For Conlan, the mood music has been good in the build up. He has cut a relaxed figure and is keen to showcase "the new old me" after teaming up with new head coach, Pedro Diaz.

The Cuban was keen to work with the Belfast man and his expertise from guiding his native country to a plethora of amateur medals and then working with some of the top names in the professional code seems a good fit, but those questions will only be answered once the bell goes.

It does point to Conlan a getting back to using his best attributes that are his feet and silky skills, but he has also suggested he will put on a destructive performance.

At first glance, neither appears to carry devastating power, but that is a little misleading with Conlan stoping nine of his 18 victims and whilst Gill has just eight stoppages in his 27 wins, he produced a knockout of the year against Karim Guerfi (whom Conlan blitzed in a round) in February 2022.

That came when he looked a beaten docket against the Frenchman, down and in real trouble, but detonated a right hand that sparked Guerfi out.

That is all the warning Conlan needs that even if he has him in trouble, a split second lapse could spell curtains.

"He's like a cat when he's backed into a corner, swinging out," Conlan noted.

"I understand that but if you know how to negate those things, it's no problem.

"I'm not worried about Jordan Gill or what he does. Whatever he brings won't matter as all that matters is what I bring.

"I'm going into this fight full of confidence and ready to put on a show with a new team. I'm ready to prove something and show I'm still here in the mix so I can get that rematch with (Leigh) Wood."

A rerun of the 2022 Fight of the Year is high on Conlan's wishlist having been within touching distance of a world title last year and indeed, Wood - also now at super-featherweight - is in Belfast to offer support and also advice to Gill who is a close friend.

That adds a little extra spice to this one and Gill is determined to match the victory of his friend and predicts another thriller.

"One fight that highlighted I have no quit in me is the Guerfi fight," he stressed.

"I think this will be a great fight. It was Fight of the Year when he (Conlan) fought Leigh and I think this will be another one on Saturday.

"All the pressure is on him. He's the star of the show - I'm just the opponent. I believe I can hurt him and win this fight."

Promoter, Eddie Hearn insists that for Conlan to get his wish of a big fight against one of the top names on his 130lb roster, he must not only win but look good doing it. He certainly has the ability to do so but it will take a top-class performance. 

Gill is not here to make up the numbers, however, and this looks like it will be a real test for both, but when all things are considered, Conlan ought to have enough to prevail.