Eddie Hearn knows all too well that Jono Carroll [16(3)-0-1] welcomes opportunities like no other fighter and warns against underestimating the Irishman in tomorrow’s IBF super featherweight world title fight.
Carroll is as wide as 13/2 with some bookies to dethrone champion Tevin Farmer [28(6)-4(2)-1] at the Liacouras Center but the Dubliner has beaten the odds before, a number of times.
The Matchroom boss watched on as a perceived no hoper changed his career and indeed life in the space of a month back in 2014.
‘King Kong’ was brought in as an opponent for talented former amateur Declan Geraghty for Matchroom’s last visit to Dublin over four years ago but, after a brilliant build-up, managed to upset the apple cart and won the Irish Fight of the Year to secure a place on Prizefighter.
The then Paschal Collins-trained talker managed to take some big scalps en route to victory in the lucrative and career enhancing tournament and started a journey that eventually lead to a world title fight in Philadelphia on St Patrick’s weekend.
There are suggestions Hearn, who let Carroll slip through his fingers in 2016 before re-signing the now-26-year-old, is hoping for a Farmer win this weekend, as he believes the Philly fighter can help him make a mark in America.
However, even if that is the case, the English promoter knows you write off the vibrant and energetic Carroll at your peril.
“It wasn’t so long ago that I put Jono Carroll on a card in Dublin against a young fighter called Declan Gerraghty in a four round fight, and he was an ‘opponent’,” Hearn recalled before addressing Carroll.
“Quite honestly, you were supposed to lose that night, and you didn’t.”
“He won in one of the best four rounders we’ve ever seen. He then won Prizefighter, he continued to learn his trade, and has since teamed up with MTK Global, went to Marbella, moved everything to dedicate his life to the sport.”
“I know there’s a lot of people – and I’ve even talked about the Gervonta Davis fight [for Farmer] after this but, when I saw Jono Carroll training, you cannot underestimate the fire in this young man’s belly.”
“The opportunity for Jono Carroll to become world champion here on Friday night, do you have any idea what that means to Jono Carroll and to a young fighter?”
While Farmer’s ‘story’ as an away corner opponent with a chequered record who rose to world title glory is understandably the prominent theme here, Hearn was keen to draw attention to Carroll.
“It’s not just [Farmer’s] story that is incredible, it’s [Carroll’s] story that is incredible as well.”
“We know that there’s been a war of words between the two of them and that’s great but, ultimately, there’s much more than words on the line on Friday night. There’s world titles, there’s futures, there’s legacies, there’s everything in the sport of boxing.”
“This young man, with a lot of support in that arena from the Irish fans on Friday night, is looking to rip that world championship from Tevin Farmer.”