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Massive Irish Fight of the Year rematch made for big Belfast card

Perhaps the most-anticipated and debated all-Irish fight of recent memory has been made.

Super featherweight southpaws Jono Carroll [14(1)-0] and Declan Geraghty [15(4)-2(1)] will rematch later this year in Belfast.

It has been confirmed this afternoon that ‘King Kong’ and ‘Pretty Boy’ will once again do battle on November 18th at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast on the massive BT Sport Carl Frampton homecoming card.

Carroll will be defending his IBF East/West Europe belt, won during the Summer, for the first time.

The 130lbs pair put on an epic fight at the 3Arena back in November 2015 – a clash that was voted the Boxing Union of Ireland Fight of the Year

Both novices back then, the pair were matched in a four-rounder on the Matchroom undercard of Matthew Macklin’s defeat to Jorge Sebastian Heiland.

That fight took place after the cameras had switched off following the main event. The punters who stayed in the venue however were treated to an all-Irish classic.

In the days and weeks leading up to the fight Carroll had infuriated Geraghty. Then an unknown 2-0 fighter who had fought sporadically in Australia, the Dunshaughlin man had been brought in as an ‘opponent’ for Geraghty..

However, the charismatic Carroll had gotten under the former elite amateur’s skin, and drew the EU silver medalist and two-time Senior champion into a war.

Just under ten minutes of non-stop action took place before Geraghty, who was 30-28 up on the card, was deducted a point for an elbow. Seconds later he was disqualified for use of the head.

A fight that divided opinion, fans were left with more questions than answers and a rematch seemed inevitable. However, all parties wisely agreed to let the fight build somewhat, and we are no presented with a high-profile repeat on perhaps the biggest Irish card of the year

As had been the prize for the winner that night – Carroll took a place in the Prizefighter Lightweights tournament the following month. The Finglas-born fighter, a rank outsider, would storm to the top prize, defeating Stephen Foster, Gary Buckland, and Michael Devine.

An association with Matchroom followed. While he did appear as chief support when Tyson Fury shocked Wladimir Klitschko, the sparse amount of fights left Carroll frustrated and he eventually left the stable. Linking up with MTK, Carroll would rattle off three quick wins and then in June he claimed a big win over unbeaten Liverpudlian Johnny Quigley to claim the IBF East/West Europe title.

Geraghty would rebuild in the aftermath, winning eight on the spin before taking on James Tennyson for the Irish title in March. Another epic all-Irish fight, the Dubliner outboxed Tennyson for large portions of the fight, but was stopped by the heavy-hitting Poleglass puncher in the sixth. Again though Geraghty would rebound, and claimed an impressive away win over unbeaten Scot Michael Roberts in July.

Both boxers had hinted at a big announcement over the past few days, and fans certainly got that this morning.

It should be noted, that the fight is dependent on both fighters coming through warm-up bouts next weekend.

On Friday October 6th, 25 year old Carroll fights at the Devenish Venue in Belfast on a Kieran Farrell Promotions show, while 27 year old Geraghty is in action on an MTK London show at the Brentwood Centre on Saturday October 7th.

Photo Credit: Karen Priestley

frayne carpentry

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie