Can Willo Hayden be the Next Thing in the Irish Boxing World?

Ireland has produced a number of hugely talented boxers over the last 50 years with the likes of Barry McGuigan, Steve Collins and more recently, Carl Frampton having enjoyed plenty of success in the ring. However, 19-year old Willo Hayden is certainly worth keeping an eye on and having recently turned professional, the teenager appears to have an extremely bright future in the sport. 

Record and Attributes

Willo Hayden has 11 Irish National Titles to his name and was also successful at the 2016 European Championships. Reports suggest that he is unbeaten in 45 consecutive championship fights that have been staged in Ireland. 

Age: 19 

Place of Birth: Crumlin, County Antrim

Weight Division: Super Lightweight 

Date Turned Professional: May 2021

Ireland’s Long Association with Boxing 

Boxing has always been extremely popular with Irish sports fans and it remains the country’s most successful Olympic sport. With bouts often live streamed, there remains a huge appetite for the sport, and the success and notoriety of UFC star Conor McGregor has helped to further drive interest in Mixed Martial Arts.

With Irish sports fans enjoying increased access to high-profile bouts, betting on boxing has also seen a notable surge and well-known and worthy brands like 888sport, bet365 and Unibet Ireland are now offering odds on all upcoming and unconfirmed fights. They have also increased the number of UFC markets as a result of the increased interest from Irish punters.

With more lucrative prizes available and a greater number of training camps being held across the country, there are a myriad of promising young competitors who are beginning to break through, although at this stage, it’s Willo Hayden who appears to be Ireland’s brightest prospect. 

Signing a Professional Contract

At the beginning of May 2021, it was announced that Hayden had signed a promotional agreement to turn professional with Frank Warren and Queensbury. With over 300 amateur fights under his belt, the hard-working teenager certainly deserves his opportunity. 

He is fearless and approaches every single fight with a never-say-die attitude. Under the guidance of Frank Warren, who has an excellent record with promoting young fighters, he is likely to be given the chance to make a name for himself over the next five years. He is set to move to England, and although his professional bout is yet to be confirmed, it is unlikely to be long before he makes his first appearance on BT Sport. 

How Far Can Willo Hayden Go?

Willo Hayden has all of the attributes to succeed. He is fearless, determined and also has excellent connections. Having sparred with Conor McGregor, he is likely to have learnt plenty of lessons from the experience. He is unlikely to be overawed by far more experienced opponents, and has already threatened to make Khabib Nurmagomedov ‘quit like a chicken’. 

Hayden also possesses a level of intelligence and was studying digital marketing at the Tallaght Campus at the University of Dublin prior to turning professional. He has the potential to out-think his opponents and is likely to be take his own personal development extremely seriously. 

It’s still early days, however, the future looks extremely bright for this young boxer. Willo Hayden is not particularly known outside of his homeland, however, his star is in the ascendancy and he is widely predicted to be mixing it with some of the sport’s greatest names in the near future. 

Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: