John Carpenter has yet to take one clean on the whiskers from an eight ounce gloved fist but he has already passed a chin check.
Forget Roberto Duran and knocking out a horse at 14, the Clondalkin native took one on the chin from a horse as a 10-year-old and didn’t hit the floor.
However, while the horse couldn’t put him on his backside, it did prevent him following his fight dream for 14 years.
Carpenter suffered three bleeds on the brain and facial injuries so bad that he couldn’t participate sport as a youngster.
That backstory makes his out-of-the-blue debut Friday night all the more sensational. The 26-year-old, who has never fought competitively in the ring, debuts on the FightZone card and takes on Ryan Hibbert [1-9(2)] with just two years gym experienced in his pocket.
“I have always loved the sport,” Carpenter tells Irish-Boxing.com.
“I actually took it up when I was 10 for a few months and really loved it but I got a kick in the face off a horse which fractured the whole left side of my face and gave me three bleeds on the brain,” he continues before making sure it was known he took the horse’s best. “It never dropped me though!
“It did put a stop to me competing in all sports including football. Then in my 20s I started doing classes with Pete Taylor with a plan to enter the amateur scene.Covid put a stop to that but I used that time to fully commit to training and when the chance came to turn pro I jumped on it.”
It is probably the most unique journey to the pro ranks since Sean Creagh, and like the focused, entertaining and determined Tallaght native, Carpenter doesn’t come to the ring with an inferiority complex.
The new-to-the-scene puncher has put in the hard work, has gained confidence from sparing with some of the county’s best and has the backing of some very knowledgable fight family members.
“I have been training in a pro set up for nearly two years now and love the lifestyle. I am training with the best professional fighters in the country and regularly spar the like of Tommy McCarthy, Stevie Collins, Johnny Joyce and Paul Ryan. Seeing all the lads from the gym off winning makes me want what to be a part of it,” he adds before expressing confidence.
“I am not going to lie, I am starting the game pretty confident.”
“I know I have a lot to learn but seeing how much I have developed in only two years compared to people who have been training all their life gives my the belief that if I keep working hard and learning every day then I can make a real impact in the sport.”
For now Carpenter, who took a slot on the Sheffield Arena Car Park-hosted Hobson show at two weeks notice, is happy to learn but has his eyes on domestic success at super middleweight.
“The short term goals are to keep learning and take in as much information as possible and to listen to the people around me.”
“I have a great team of coaches and training partners and feel I am in the place place to keep growing. After a few fights I want to pick up a Celtic Title, then an Irish Title and keep progressing from there. Super middleweight will be a great weight for me. I feel strong and healthy at the weight. I am going focus on getting as much experience as I can and then I will start calling for whoever is in the mix at Irish level.”
Only those who have been privileged enough to see sparring in the Colosseum Gym will know what to expect from Carpenter style-wise.
The fighter himself claims learning under Pete Taylor means he is adapt at most approaches but hints at an aggressive fan friendly style.
“Training with Pete means that we practice coming forward, boxing on the back foot and every style in between. I feel that I have the style to adapt to whatever is on front of me. That said I know that I have power and love sitting down and letting it go.”
The Dublin’s debut like the revelation he was turning over comes out of the blue. He takes on Hibbert at two week’s notice but claims the timing is ideal.
“The debut opportunity couldn’t have happened at a better time. I had been been training three times a day and was feeling great. I was boxing with Pete and the team, doing my strength work with Jamie Goonery and then running at night.
“Then I got lucky with the offer but luck happens when preparation meets opportunity,” he adds before rejoicing at the fact his fight will be streamed.
“I am delighted to be a part of this platform and very grateful to have slipped in in short notice I plan on catching a few eyes but overall I am happy I’ll be there to learn and perform and use the skills that have been practicing.
“I just can’t wait to get in and put them to work.”