He was Mouth of the South before they last fought. He didn’t quite break out the Jimmy Hart megaphone, but Jono Carroll [14(1)-0] certainly used the media to good effect before his clash with Declan Geraghty [15(4)-2(1)] on the Return of the Mack card in Dublin back in 2014.
Carroll came in as an unknown opponent, but two-fight novice warned everyone that would listen that he was going to cause an upset. The Finglas-Dunshaughlin boxer also seemed to take the opportunity to try and get under Geraghty’s skin in what was clearly an attempt to draw the renowned southpaw stylist into a war.
The tactic seemed to work and as a result the fight was even more entertaining than the build up, with the four-rounder being named Irish Fight of the Year.
Considering Carroll’s approach helped him secure a win with Geraghty being disqualified – and played a part in him becoming a name in Irish boxing – some have found it strange King Kong has been silent since the rematch was confirmed for the massive November 18th BT Sport card in Belfast.
However, speaking to Irish-Boxing.com this week about the clash, Carroll confirmed he has deliberately been reserved in case he talks ‘Pretty Boy’ out of turning up.
The 25-year-old believes his fellow Dub may pull out if he is feeling the mind game pressure.
“Of course, everything I do and say is planned out,” Carroll admitted when asked if he had a mind game approach before the first encounter.
“But this time I don’t want to frighten him off. That is the main reason I’m keeping it quiet. I’ve literally not put a video up of training or nothing like it because I know he will get scared and pull out. I’m surprised he hasn’t already.”
“Ever since this fight has been made I’ve told everyone he’s going to pull out. That why I was delighted it hasn’t been made before now because I know for a fact that would have been his way out, saying he hurt his hand or something. He loves his excuses.”
It’s a change of pre-fight tact, but anyone that has watched the MTK super featherweight’s previous build ups will know he won’t be able to stay silent for long.
The Marbella-based entertainer was keen to stress his silence to date shouldn’t be misunderstood as a lack of excitement. Indeed he claims he is just as excited for the rematch as the fans that got to witness the first installment in the early hours of November 15th 2014.
“I was always aware this fight is the fight the fans wanted. And believe me this is a fight I’ve really wanted too. That’s why I jumped at it soon as it got mentioned. I said yes straight away and was hoping the team would want it also.”
“This is the first time the the fight has been offered and I jumped at it. I want this more than anything and believe me it’s been hard to keep a lid on things, but I just had a horrible feeling from day one he would pull out. The closer it gets the more excited I get I can’t wait for the press conference.”
He may have used the build-up to raise his profile, but the victory on the night changed the Danny Vaughan-trained fighters career and, it seems, mindset.
The 3Arena win secured Carroll a place on Prizefighter and victory in a very talented knockout competition gave him the belief he could become a renowned pro.
Carroll, who enjoyed a career best win over Johnny Quigley to take the IBF East/West Europe belt last time out, claims he now takes things seriously and stresses he has made vast improvements since 2014.
“Our last fight was my break and I took it with both hands. I didn’t take boxing seriously before that fight. I just boxed because I enjoyed the sport. Then getting into Prizefighter gave me a huge platform and I took that chance too. It was really only after Prizefighter that I thought I can make a career out of this.”
“Like I said I never took boxing serious before that first fight but now I live the life. I know I’ve improved since our last fight. I can’t comment on him, I won’t know (if Geraghty has improved) till I’m in there with him.”
Photo Credit: Sharon Flanagan