Shortty Carroll opens up on retirement decision – “No one really understands what it’s like”


When talking to Stephen ‘Shortty’ Carroll, you get the feeling he’s more on a sabbatical than officially retired.

However, the facts of the matter the gloves are at present hung up and it’s worth looking into the reasons why.

Last month the Ballyfermot light welter called time on his career at the tender age of 25 citing a lack of stability in the sport as the reason behind his decision.

The announcement seemed to come at a strange time considering Dublin was starting to see more shows, an abundance of new fighters were entering the equation, and things domestically at light welter looked interesting for Carroll.

Not to mention the Tony Davitt trained fighter had just started to leave his mark, collecting a Celtic Nations title and defending it in Scotland, registering one of the most impressive away performances by an Irish fighter this year in the process.

Having outpointed an up-for-it Jamesy Gorman in Belfast to win the Celtic Nations welterweight title and then defending the belt on short notice with a dominant win over Scottish champion Eddie Doyle in Motherwell in March.

Things seemed to be positive for the Dubliner. Fights with the likes of other relative Dublin names Jake Hanney and Sean Creagh looked like they could generate interest and as a result revenue for Carroll and he looked in prime position to kick on.

However, despite all that, he felt the need to retire. It wasn’t paying Carroll to go full time and, having secured a job, the young father couldn’t blend work, training, and family life.

“It was hard with the new job,” he explained to Irish-Boxing.com.

“I hadn’t the time to put the hours into training. I had to put work first with bills and Christmas being a few weeks away and with the extra hours in work I couldn’t dedicate myself to the sport. I was working for 10 hours a day and having my own family made it hard to fit the type of training needed around both.”

“No one really understands what it’s like. You’re scraping by and not getting a lot from the sport. You’re meeting people at all hours to sell tickets and you’re paying for opponents when you can barely sell enough tickets to pay yourself.”

Considering the intelligent way he name dropped the likes of Hanney and Creagh in particular early in his career, planting a seed in a bid to build hype around potential derbies it was always clear Carroll was aware of both and the potential value in fighting his fellow Dubs down the line.

He admits those fights excited him and is confident he would beat both, but with even having those fights a on the horizon couldn’t keep him in the game.

“Them fights would have been brilliant but a loss is everything in boxing, when you lose one you have to start again from the beginning unless you’re with a team like MTK. MTK can easily build a boxer back up and can do it fast

“I honestly believe I would beat those lads in some very interesting fights. I believe I have the talent, the skill and the determination to go on and beat some of the best lads out there.”

The use of ‘have’ rather than ‘had’ is one of a few things that suggests Carroll still harbours fighting ambition and if financial circumstances improve you get the feeling he would love to trade leather again.

Indeed when pushed on it it’s something he admits it may be something he considers further down the line.

“My head has been a mess since I said I would retire. I feel lost in myself,” the ever honest Carroll continues.

“I do feel I will come back to finish my work, but only if things work out to suit me.”

“I’ll always train, you don’t know when boxing will come knocking on your door with a offer you can’t refuse. Plus when you’re a real boxing man, it’s a sport that is just in the blood. It’s hard to say it’s over or the end for all boxing men.”

“I feel boxing is all I know and I’m good at what I do. I give 1 million percent, but at this time I have to do what is right for the family. If finances weren’t a problem, and with a good team behind me, I could go all the way.”

In that regard there is hope for fight fans. They may see the Dublin derbies that have been building in recent years and could witness fights that have potential to change the sport in terms of creating a buzz around Irish title fights that could make reaching that level financially attractive for prospects and indeed more established fighters.

However, if we are never to see Carroll in the ring again what was his favourite moment of his short career? That fight with Doyle earlier in the year.

“My fight in Scotland would be my best memory as a pro. I went in with Eddie Doyle as the underdog. I was a 5 and 0 Celtic Nations champ, he was 18 and 2 and was in his hometown. I nearly put him away three times.”

“He got three counts and I still only won by a round. I don’t know what fight they were judging but I won every round and three knockdowns? That shows you what I was up against. I was surprised at the score but more happy with the win and great performance.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting irish (@ThefIrish)

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Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years