MICHAEL Conlan says his upcoming world featherweight title fight is a tougher challenge than his last one.

On May 27 in his home city Belfast the 31-year-old will take on Luis Alberto Lopez 27-2 (15) who looked impressive beating Josh Warrington last time out.

It has been 14 months since Conlan 18-1 (9) was dramatically knocked after an epic war with Leigh Wood in Nottingham. Since that the Northern Irishman has bounced back with two back-to-back wins against Miguel Marriaga and Karim Guerfi. Now comes the challenge of Lopez.

“I would say this is a bigger challenge than Wood because this guy has won the world title away from home and beaten some good fighters along the way and I think his ring IQ is better than Wood,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“Credit to Wood, he is very tough and beat me, but his ring IQ isn’t great, and my mind hasn’t changed on that.

“Lopez is the better boxer and would beat Wood, I’m sure. The experience of last year is going to help me a lot. I believe I’m a better fighter because of it and I will react better in the heat of battle.”

Wood against Conlan was widely regarded as the 2022 fight of the year and the challenger is expecting more fireworks on May 27 at The SSE Arena.

“This has the potential to really spark because of the clash of styles and I suppose with my history it has the potential to be a Fight of the Year contender.”