Out of the blue return for Jono Carroll this weekend

Jono Carroll [18(4)-2(0)-1] will make a somewhat out of the blue return to the ring this weekend.

‘King Kong’ fights for the first time since his shock defeat to new British lightweight champion Maxi Hughes, suffered in the summer of last year, in Spain on Saturday March 27th.

The former world title challenger takes on the brilliantly named Romic Airapetean [9(2)-0] on a KO Boxing card in Malaga.

The Moldovan comes to the ring undefeated but has yet to fight anyone of any note – and although Carroll will be wary of overlooking the challenge, Airapetean shouldn’t cause many problems.

There were indications from the man himself last month he would fight in Spain last weekend but all has been quiet since. Indeed, this clash has yet to be confirmed or advertised by the 28-year-old’s team. A more hyped return on an MTK Fight Night may have appealed more to Carroll fans but pandemic problems may have prevented that from happening.

As it stands, the popular Dub seems happy to get back to winning ways under the radar before returning to the bigger stage and the more vocal approach he is known for.

The Spain-based southpaw still feels he has options at 130lbs and speaking in February name-dropped Carl Frampton and Jojo Diaz in particular.

Some wins may have to be banked to make Carroll tempting to Irish fight legend Frampton and world champion Diaz.

However, the 28-year-old is excited about the in-between fights that are out there in the division.

“It’s very exciting times for me now. Nevermind the champions all them, all the lads in the top 15 would be very good fights for me. The 130lbs division is an exciting division and I am happy to be in it.”

It’s pure positivity from the Finglas native, who now looks at the Hughes defeat as a plus.

“I am back hungry and it’s given me that fire in my belly that I had before the Quigg fight. It regenerated my career I believe. Other people might not see it like that, but I always think on the positive side of things. I’m young, I’m hungry and I believe I will get those world titles.”

Carroll wasn’t looking for excuses but did admit he was distracted and somewhat caught up in the hype after he dismantled former world champion, Scott Quigg.

The vibrant character also claimed the lack of a ‘fear factor’ or big fight feel may have affected his performance in Dubai.

“I just like being in against good people because that little bit of fear always pushes me to the next level. Every time I have had a hard fight I have shown up.”

Before the Hughes reverse Carroll was name-dropping Carl Frampton, who could become Ireland’s first three weight world champion if he beats Jamel Herring later this month.

The former world title challenger says it’s a fight he still wants.

“I’d love the Carl Frampton fight. Win lose or draw [against Herring] I’d like that fight purely because I respect Carl. I’d love to share the ring with Carl. The Dublin Belfast thing would be a barnburner and a half. I just really like Carl and I’d love the experience of sharing the ring with him and test myself against a fighter of that experience,” he adds before mentioning another fighter he’d love to share the ring with.

“I would love to fight JoJo Diaz, he’s a beast, there are so many big names out there for me now.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com