Frank Warren has snapped up another Irish teen talent today.
The Queensbury fight boss added 19-year-old Dublin’s ‘wonderkid’ Willo Hayden to his books.
Hayden was a standout underage amateur winning European Schoolboys (U14) gold in 2016 and picking up 11 Irish titles at various age groups along the way.
The Crumlin BC graduate also had notoriety from sparring Conor McGregor when he visited the Crumlin Gym and was part of the camp for the Dustin Poirier ahead of UFC 257 in Abu Dhabi. The young prospect was also a regular over in the Celtic Warrior Gym where he used to spar some pros there from his mid teens.
McGregor also did a few rounds with 2016 European Schoolboys gold medallist Willo Hayden pic.twitter.com/8GFl6e9rEV— Joe O’Neill (@J0E_90) April 18, 2019
There were high amateur hopes for the Crumlin fighter, but he turns over before ever competing in the senior ranks. Speaking earlier this year he revealed he had his sights set on a senior title but the cancelation of the National Elites changed his plans.
Irish-boxing.com understand Hayden has been exploring pro options for a number of months now and there was interest from America, UK and beyond.
After meeting a number of promoters the young talented Dubliner has elected to sign with Frank Warren, whom he met in person late last Friday night.
11 Irish National Titles 🇮🇪— Frank Warren (@frankwarren_tv) May 5, 2021
European Gold Medalist 🇪🇺
Welcome to the team @HaydenWillo
The 19-year-old sparring partner of @TheNotoriousMMA isn’t waiting around and is ready to make his mark on the pro-game 😤😤 pic.twitter.com/xpeHHj4qbi
Hayden joins John Joyce, Edward Donovan and Jason Harty as Irish underage standouts on the books of Warren, while Caomhin Agyarko, a fighter who made an impact at senior amateur level and British super featherweight champion Anthony Cacace also become stablemates.
Hayden is expected to remain in Crumlin where he will train under Phil Sutcliffe and his father Paul and is set to debut in the near future. The new to the pro scene operator has proven he can be a bit of a character when calling out UFC star Khabib Nurmagomedov. Hayden wasn’t too happy with the Russian questioning McGregor’s sparring and let fly.
“How about you back up your mouth and organize a time and a location for me to fight you. I’m only a “little kid” so this should be no problem for you? I can guarantee you that I will make you quit like the chicken you are.
“From your own words, “Die like a samurai, don’t chicken out please”. Now all you have to do is put your own words into action.”