Rosado, Quigley, Keeler, Spike – The Names Eddie Hearn is eying for Caoimhin Agyarko’s Belfast Debut

Eddie Hearn plans to promote Caoimhin Agyarko [10(7)-0] in Belfast in late 2022 but claims he needs a big name opponent to make it a success.

The Matchroom boss is extremely excited about the middleweight he believes has ‘International Superstar’ potential, and told Belfast as much ahead of the second Michael Conlan Leigh Wood press conference on Thursday.

Hearn also revealed Agyarko will defend his WBA International title in Nottingham on March 12 and that he hopes to deliver on a Belfast promise made to the Holy Trinity graduate before the year is out.

However, the Essex promoter, who also works with Katie Taylor, James Tennyson and Tommy McCarthy and has promoted Paul McCloskey, Carl Frampton and Ryan Burnett in the capital of Irish boxing, revealed he needs the 25-year-old to get some good wins before he can hand him a headline spot.

He also points out any trip to Belfast will rely on securing an opponent of note, sharing a very interesting hit list in the process.

Two-time middleweight world title challenge Gabriel Rosado [26(15)-14(4)-1], who has been sparring Cork teen Callum Walsh regularly of late, was a name Hearn dropped on more than one occasion.

The American would be a huge step up and a great fight but it’s was the mention of an Irish trio that caught the attention most.

Recent middleweight world title challengers Luke Keeler [17(5)-3(2)-1] and Jason Quigley [19(14)-2(2)] were also put forward as possible opponents as was Cork’s Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan [30(21)-4(3)].

“Caoimhin isn’t blessed with the fan base of Frampton or Conlan, not many people are, but he is really good and if you’re really good and from Belfast you’ve got a great chance,” he said on Thursday.

“So the plan for him is to fight on March 12 – and what a brilliant platform that is for him – fight in the summer and then go to Belfast. But you would only come back here with a name like Gab Rassado, Jason Quigley, Luke Keeler, Spike O’Sullivan. He needs one of those fights,” he adds.

Hearn laid out the road map to Belfast but did warn its subject to detours. The DAZN aligned promoter will only return to Antrim for the first time since he promoted the Ryan BurnettZhanat Zhakiyanov bantamweight unification bout if the London trained fighter’s profile has increased and he’s proved he is ready for the likes of the aforementioned middleweights.

“It’s just a case of will he be ready, he’s only had 10 fights. Caoimhin wants to fight those guys now and he wants to fight in Belfast. I’m trying to tell him we need to build him a little and that after March 12 his profile will go through the roof. Once people watch him, he’s so exciting they will be on board. We are looking at November December for Belfast but it’s only if he is ready for those names. You can’t just do it because he wants to headline in Belfast.”

O’Sullivan has been waiting on a light-middleweight opportunity but has had his career seriously stalled with the pandemic preventing him from exploring stateside offers, while Quigley and Keeler may argue a fight between themselves may be the bigger bout.

However, Agyarko, albeit less well-known and less experienced, has the Matchroom contract, the financial backing of Eddie Hearn, and the clout that comes with that.

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