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World titles beckon for sensational Jono Carroll

Jono Carroll [16(3)-0] is ready to take on the world following a sensational victory in Belfast on Saturday night.

The Finglas-Dunshaughlin super featherweight ended his grudge with Declan Geraghty, stopping the Charlemont Street stylist in the ninth round.

It was a dominant, destructive performance from Carroll at the SSE Odyssey Arena in what was undoubtedly the fight of the night on the Mick Conlan Homecoming bill and ‘King Kong’ wants to move on to world level.

The clash, a repeat of the Irish Fight of the Year for 2014, had been massively hyped and managed to deliver, with Top Rank COO Brad Jacobs and Matchmaker Bruce Trampler joining in a standing ovation at the conclusion.

The charismatic Carroll was delighted with his showing and said afterwards that “it was spectacular, it was everything that it was built up to be.”

“I’m so happy that’s how it went, if it had have ended early I would have been devastated because, [for] the fans, it’s been very exciting for a long time. What has it been? Four years? I’m glad I was able to put on a great performance. I said, in the build-up, that this was going to be a great performance by me.”

“I’m learning so much in the gym, I’m practicing so much, and I’m always just trying to improve. I think I proved that – I can take headbutts, I can take elbows, whatever you want to give me, and I can dish it back out.”

While Geraghty has undoubted talent, Carroll was able to grind him down, dropping the inner-city Dub in the third and having him seemingly ready to go from the fifth or sixth onward.

The body attack was crucial for Carroll, who took the wind out of Geraghty’s sails early on and the 26-year-old revealed that this tactic, in part, came due to cut suffered early in camp.

The body attack was crucial for Carroll, who took the wind out of Geraghty’s sails early on and the 26-year-old revealed that this tactic, in part, came due to cut suffered early in camp.

Rather than ruin his training, Carroll used the injury to his advantage.

The Marbella-based boxer, who had former Sergio Martinez and David Lemieux opponent Albert Ayrapetyan in his corner, explained how “my second week of training, I sparred, and my eye opened again so I was only able to bodyspar for this whole camp. I knew my body punching would be relentless because that’s all we practiced in the gym.”

“I was wearing this big Hannibal Lector headguard, this big stupid thing, and I could barely see I was doing was just focusing constantly on bodyshots. That slowed him down and I knew, once his feet started slowing down, that I was going to take him out to the head. Once he slowed, we kept attacking, kept attacking, and that relentlessness broke him down.”

“Declan’s very elusive so I knew it was going to be very hard to catch him to the head early. He said he was going to give me a boxing lesson and, I’m not going to lie, when we were amateurs and we sparred he did give me a boxing lesson. All my training, I just kept thinking of that and made sure that I was not getting embarrassed in front of this amazing crowd.”

The win leaves Carroll on the brink of a world title shot.

Beforehand he was ranked #7 at 130lbs with the IBF – but this was more like #3 as the first two slots in the rankings are not filled while the third and fourth-ranked fighters, Tevin Farmer and Billy Dib, clash next month in Australia for the vacant title.

Even if the Geraghty win, which saw him defend his IBF Inter-Continental belt for the first time, doesn’t boost Carroll’s standing, it is feasible that Carroll ends the Summer only behind former European champions Guillaume Frenois and Devis Boschiero.

Carroll and his team would be confident of beating either the Frenchman or the Italian in a final eliminator. Indeed, a shot at a world title is probably coloser than many think.

Keen for big fights, the bearder boxer stated that “I want World titles, that’s the whole reason I’m in this game.”

“Belfast, Dublin, I don’t know, I don’t care. [Belfast] is a home away from home for me, World titles baby, I’m bringing a world title home, trust me!”


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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