Spanish move going swimmingly for fish fanatic Jono Carroll

Jono Carroll [12(1)-0] is eating fish by the aquarium-load, and admits that relocating to Spain now has him hungrier than ever.

The Dunshaughlin super featherweight joined Macklin’s Gym Marbella at the end of the Summer and, after a tester camp, he is going all in and moving to the South of Spain next year.

It’s a big decision for Carroll and his pregnant fiancée Gemma, but King Kong feels that his boxing is moving to a new level and the relocation is a necessary one.

“I’m going to be based out in Spain full-time,” Carroll, who boxes this evening in Glasgow live on Boxnation, told Irish-Boxing.com.

The 24 year old has fallen in love with the area, and the facilities at the Puerto Banús gym. He described how “it’s a different lifestyle altogether. Instead of going home from the gym every day and being stuck inside and it’s cold and raining or whatever else, you’re going for a swim or a walk on the beach. It’s just so much easier to motivate yourself and actually get out and train, you don’t mind going on runs. It’s brilliant now I have to say.”

“That’s what I love about being with MGM now: that I’m constantly sparring different lads, they have different people who are walking in and out of the gym all the time. It’s really going to give me that extra boost that I kind of need. You’re training beside someone like Billy Joe Saunders, a World Champion! I was picking his brain about certain things, making weight, and just a few bits and pieces. It’s brilliant t be able to be in the gym and be training beside the likes of them.”

Carroll has previously spent some time in Australia, where his first two fights took place, and the charismatic southpaw admits that, before the move to MGM, he had felt tempted to make a return Down Under during his inactivity-filled time in Ireland.

“The lifestyle’s totally different [in Spain], and that’s what I love about it having come home from Australia. After coming home to Ireland I was starting to get that bug to go back to Australia, but the boxing wasn’t amazing over there, so everything is after working out perfect for me, everything is suiting me down to the ground.”

“I’ve gotten the hunger back.”

Carroll has the hunger back, but isn’t going hungry, and he is enjoying the delicacies of the coastal area. The Irishman described how “I’m constantly eating well. You’re eating fish, you walk into a restaurant in Spain and you can get nice fish, you can get healthy food, it’s a lot harder when you’re at home I’m telling you. You’re kinda getting rubbish, chicken wings, and whatever.”

“My palate has been changed! I’m eating prawns and all, I never ate prawns when I was at home, but I’m loving them over here”

His diet, in combination with the heat, has led to Carroll being more comfortable at the weight than he had been accustomed to, and he revealed that “the weight is probably the best it’s been since I joined Paschal’s [Celtic Warriors Gym]. I put on a bit of muscle, he got me very strong, but because of the inactivity, I wasn’t watching what I was eating. I was training hard all the time, but I wasn’t watching what I was eating.”

“The lifestyle’s a little bit different, you’re a lot more active, you’re eating well yeah, but you’re not just going to the gym and coming home and waiting for the next training session – you’re out swimming or you’re out doing something. So the weight is really falling off and I’m feeling really strong at my weight, whereas before I was having to do a big cut to make the weight.”

“I’m a super featherweight, but I’m actually making that really handy. To be honest, if I was really watched every little thing that I was eating, I could make featherweight at this stage.”

Carroll does not do things by halves either, and wants to become immersed in Spanish culture. He outlined how “I’ll definitely be doing Spanish lessons, one-hundred percent, me and the missus have already talked about that. We’re going to be raising our kid there so the child will be going to school there and speaking fluent Spanish, so I’m going to need to know a little bit too. All them little things, it’s good life experience.”

His opponent tonight, coincidentally, is a Spaniard [recent Spanish featherweight title challenger Juan Luis Gonzalez]. While el no habla Español at the moment, Carroll jokes how he surprise any future Latino opponents with a few intimidating words of Spanish at the staredown – something like what Conor McGregor did to Jose Aldo at the UFC 189 press conference in Rio de Janeiro.

“one-hundred percent, that will happen, trust me!” laughed Carroll.

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