Jono Carroll claims he could have been a Dublin headline act for Matchroom if Eddie Hearn had pushed him early in his career.
The DAZN-aligned fighter-maker last week shared his love for Irish fight fans, claiming they generated one of his favourite all-time atmospheres as well as a special fight week for Katie Taylor’s homecoming.
However, he also said that outside Taylor and Mick Conlan in Belfast, Irish boxing hasn’t a ready-made bill topper he can promote, particularly in Dublin.
Carroll believes he could have been that star name and argues with a bit more love and care, Matchroom, or other big-name promoters, could have a pool of Irish headline acts on their hands.
‘King Kong’ has fought exclusively in Asia for his past four bouts but feels it could have been the 3Arena had things gone differently.
“Genuinely I think if Eddie had of kept me from the start, after Prizefighter, and built me correct then I would [have been that headliner], he said in response to Hearn’s comments.
Carroll stormed his way to Prizefighter victory in 2014 beating British-level operators Stephen Foster, Gary Buckland and Michael Devine in the star-launching competition. He fought under the Matchroom banner for his next four fights before teaming up with MTK [then MGM].
The popular southpaw super-featherweight did work with Hearn and co again, most notably in his world title fight with Tevin Farmer and for his big Scott Quigg win. However, he feels, if nurtured from the off, Matchroom could have helped make him Dublin’s leading man.
Indeed, the 31-year-old believes there is talent aplenty in Ireland that could be shaped for stardom.
“It’s sad to hear him saying that because he’s right. There are so many talented boxers in Ireland but we don’t get the fights we need at the correct times like the English or American fighters do. We are always brought in to lose or in a 50/50 fight with a week’s notice.”
Carroll was last seen in the ring outpointing former Michael Conlan foe Miguel Marriaga over 10 rounds in Dubai and is currently ranked #3 with the WBA, #9 with the IBF, and #13 with the WBC.