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TIMELINE: The Jono Carroll v Declan Geraghty rivalry

Over three-and-a-half years on from their epic first fight, Jono Carroll [15(2)-0] and Deco Geraghty [17(4)-2(1)] will rematch next month.

The Dublin super featherweight pair fight on the Mick Conlan homecoming card at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast on June 30th looking to put to bed a long-running feud which flared up in the run-up to their first meeting.

Plenty has been said over the years and below Irish-Boxing.com have trawled through the archives to give our readers the definitive timeline of one of Irish boxing’ biggest ever rivalries.

(Click on headings for full articles)

October 14th 2014 – First fight confirmed
Out of nowhere, a third all-Irish fight is confirmed for the Matthew Macklin v Jorge Sebastian Heiland undercard at the 3Arena the following month. Already boasting the rematch between Ian Tims and Michael Sweeney as well as the Spike O’Sullivan v Anthony Fitzgerald grudge match, the Geraghty-Carroll bout was seen as a nice little bonus for the bill. How little did we know.

October 14th 2014 – Carroll questions if Geraghty can fight
Professional boxing is about risks, if we’re going to be fighting at world level, what I want to be doing, I’m going to have to fight the best – and, right now, Deco is probably the best in the country, no doubt he is the best in the country. He’s getting some good name for himself and that’s what I want for myself.”

“Don’t get me wrong, he’s a tricky little mover, he’s a very good boxer, he’s slick and I have my work cut out for me – but, as he knows himself, I’m a strong fighter, I can fight, I can box. Deco, I have to say, he’s a brilliant mover, but can he fight? That’s the question, I don’t know. We’ll see on November 15th.”

October 16th 2014 – Geraghty promises to fight not box Carroll
In response to Carroll’s interview, the Marbella-based Geraghty told Irish-Boxing.com that “at this stage of my career Carroll is a step up, but I’ve been in with better fighters  and done the job easy when I was with the Irish team.”

“l sparred Jono, in fairness it was  a while ago, but we both know I’m miles ahead of him as a boxer. I could out box him all day long, but he said he wanted to have a war so that’s what I’m going to give him. I am not going to box I am going in for a fight.

“He’s a nice lad and there is no bad blood between us, but boxing is a business at the end of the day and I’m here to get the win.”

November 6th 2014 – Carroll questions if Geraghty will go toe-to-toe
Speaking top Irish-Boxing.com, Carroll doubts whether Geraghty will be true to his word that he will stand and fight.

He reasoned that “it comes down to heart at the end of the day. Deco is a very good fighter but he said he’s going to go toe-to-toe with me. We’ll see will he go toe-to-toe, I don’t think he’s going to go toe-to-toe with me but if he does it will be a very exciting fight.”

November 12th 2014 Sparring stories and first face-off
For the first time since their amateur days, Geraghty and Carroll go head to head at the Return of the Mack press conference – where it is revealed that the winner of the bout will be rewarded with a slot in Prizefighter the following month.

Afterwards they both speak to Irish-Boxing.com and Carroll reveals an insight into a past meeting. He described how “I sparred Deco before. I was 16, he was 18, he was going for the Seniors, I had a chest infection and all. We did three rounds and my da turned around and said ‘you alright for another one?’ – and this was us helping him for the Seniors, I wasn’t even training for anything at the time – and I goes “yeah, I’ll go for another one’.”

“We shouted over, his Da said ‘yeah, one more’, and Deco goes ‘no’. Deco was the one who quit, he has a weak heart, that was sparring, this is a six-rounder. This is professional, this isn’t amateur. I respect everything that Deco has done in the amateurs but it’s a totally different game, we’re not going to score points with tip and move.”

Geraghty brushed off the challenge of Carroll and said “he knows and I know what happens in sparring is different. He’s been in Australia, I’d go to Australia and win fights with both hands tied behind my back! And I’d probably knock them out still, that’s how easy it is over there.”

“He’s going to have to be careful about what he wished for. He wished for this fight and he’s going to be in trouble about it!”

November 14th – Weigh-in and rounds drama
The day before the fight and the two weigh-in with plenty of words spoken following a controversy over the number of rounds.

Carroll came to Irish-Boxing.com afterwards and fumed at how “I’ve after been training for a six rounder and now they’re after coming to me and telling me it’s not going to be a six rounder, that it’s going to be a four rounder. Declan Geraghty and his team are obviously afraid to fight me in a good, hard six rounder.”

“If it was me, I’d turn around and say ‘I want to fight a six rounder’. It was scheduled to be a six rounder, his last fight was meant to be a six rounder and then he was giving out that his six rounder was put off, that he was so excited about it, this, that, and the other. It’s funny how he won’t fight me six rounder.”

“He’s going to try leg it for the four rounds like an Olympic sprinter, but, what can you do?”

November 15th 2014 – Carroll defeats Geraghty via DQ4 – Irish Fight of the Year
The two ended up fighting after the main event at the 3Arena but the clash did not disappoint and was subsequently named the Irish Fight of the Year for 2014 – WATCH HERE 

Geraghty, after having a point deducted, was disqualified in the fourth and final round for use of the head. Geraghty was 30-28 on referee David Irvine’s card at the end of the third.

Underdog Carroll drew Geraghty into a war and secured the upset win which propelled him into Prizefighter the following month.

Carroll told Irish-Boxing.com afterwards that “I have to take my hat off to Deco, I caught him with some shots I tell ya and he did catch me with one or two lovely fucking shots as well. He has a chin, I don’t care what anyone says. I said it was going to be a war, that’s what I wanted and Deco brought it, he made it a war, he didn’t box too much, he stayed and he fought. I take my hat off to Deco, he’s a great fighter and all the shit that was said before, that was always just the build-up.

November 18th 2014 – Geraghty calls for rematch
“It was great fight, fight of the night for sure,” Geraghty told Irish-boxing.com.“It was a war, toe to toe stuff, both of us went at it from the first bell. Jono is a lovely fella and this is business. He got the win and I wish him all the best. l want to fight him again and I’m sure he would take the fight but it would be a bit down the line. Again it was fight of the night and it really should have been shown on TV, without a doubt.”  It was very close and a good battle, but despite fighting I was up, so I showed I can fight and I am sure there will be stages when I have to fight again in the future.

December 5th 2014 – Geraghty backs Carroll for Prizefighter
With Carroll approaching his big Prizefighter night, his rival backed him for the win. Geraghty told Irish-Boxing.com that “I hope Jono wins the whole tournament.”

“He is a nice lad and I wish him all the best. Plus Jono and I will fight for sure next year and if he wins the rematch will be that more interesting and high profile.”

December 5th 2014 – Carroll hopes for Geraghty rematch
At the same time, Carroll expressed his desire for a rematch, telling IFL that “I’ve already talked to Deco about it, we’ve talked on Facebook. That’s definitely a rematch.”

“I don’t like the way people were saying that he was up on the cards and this that and the other. First of all, it was 11 months to the day almost that I had had my last fight before that, now I’m going to have a couple of fights under my belt, it’s going to be an eight-rounder or a ten-rounder.”

“It’ll be something interesting and hopefully it will be another bloodbath as well, it’ll be another war. Hopefully we’re topping a bill, I reckon we could top a bill.

December 6th – Carroll wins Prizefighter
Beating European champion Stephen Foster, Commonwealth champion Gary Buckland, and Southern Area champion Michael Devine, Carroll claimed a sensational Prizefighter win at the York Hall in London, a win which subsequently secured him an association with Matchroom.

Jono Carroll

March 24th 2015 – Carroll feels Geraghty is a “leap” back
Now Prizefighter champion and aligned to Matchroom, Carroll claims Geraghty is a step back at that stage and believes his rival doesn’t actually want the fight.

Carroll told Irish-Boxing.com that “it is a bit of a step back for me if I did go on to fight Deco, but as I said I am just a fighter I will fight anyone they put in front of me. If Matchroom put Deco in front of me I will fight Deco, but all that has to do with money and titles and everything else.”

“People keep talking about the Deco fight and understandably so, it was such an exciting fight, but that is the past I am looking to the future. Deco is behind me that would be me taking leaps backwards.”

“to be honest with you I don’t think he wants it either. If he gets that rematch and I beat him where does that leave him. Deco is an up and coming prospect and so I am I, so even though he is calling for it I don’t think he wants it.”

March 25th 2015 – Geraghty responds angrily to Carroll claim
Not happy with Carroll questioning whether he wanted a rematch, Geraghty challenges Carroll to a fight.

“I don’t want the rematch?” he told Irish-Boxing.com “Let’s do it May 9 in Birmingham. I am ready to go! I was winning the last fight and I had him all over the place in the last round, that’s why he kept holding me so much. I was ahead on the scorecards too. I shouldn’t have used my head, but I was frustrated with the holding. He was about to get stopped and he knows it. As I said I am ready, lets get the rematch made.”

“Jono said he would fight me again when we spoke after the last fight, but he knows if he does he will lose his 0. So it looks like he’s trying to duck me. By the end of the year l will win more fights and have more titles than him but I still want that rematch.”

Aprill 11th 2015 – Carroll dismisses talk of Geraghty rematch
After a win over Carlos Perez on his Matchroom debut, Carroll was asked by IFL about a Geraghty rematch. He said that “that’s over, I’m not even talking about that fight. Until that fight comes, then we’ll talk about it and I’ll build it up then. But, I’m not even bothered talking about that at the minute.”

July 18th 2015 – Carroll calls for Geraghty rematch to marinate
Speaking after a win over Barrington Brown in Manchester, Carroll was again asked by IFL about a Geraghty rematch and said that “whenever I get told to fight him, I’ll fight him. What’s the point of fighting him now for three grand when I can fight him in another couple of years, even a year’s time, for 30, 40 grand. This game’s all about making money, it’s a business at the end of the day.”

“Me and Deco never had anything against each other until we fought! It is what it is, it’s a rivalry now. it is what it is, Deco knows what it is, we’re professionals at the end of the day and we just want to get paid big money for this.”

“It’s good to have that rivalry, even in Ireland, with people wanting it because that’s exciting and the Irish fans needed that, we haven’t had something like that in a long time. It’s exciting and I’m happy that I’m involved in something like that. When it happens, it happens, and the fans will be pleased.”

August 2015 – August 2016 – A Quiet Time
Talk of the rematch goes mute for a good year. Carroll suffers from inactivity and fighting just twice, his Matchroom deal not being what it was initially hoped. Geraghty fights four times, thrice versus journeymen before getting past the extremely dangerous Nicaraguan Eusebio Osejo.

September 16th 2016 – Carroll becomes a managerial stablemate of Geraghty

September 25th 2016 – Carroll explains why he isn’t focusing on Geraghty
Questioned again by IFL TV on a Geraghty rematch, Carroll believes it is one for down the line. He said that “everyone knows what that is and that will happen in the future. But, at the same time, if someone like Declan is looking at me, that’s ridiculous. I’m looking at Lomachenko, that’s who I’m looking at, I want major fights, I want world titles.

Declan Geraghty is down here, as much respect as I have for the man. I’m looking past Deco until that big money fight comes and he knows it as well as I know it. There has to be big money and it has to be in Ireland.”

Don’t get me wrong, the fans will see it. I’m never going to avoid a fight, I’m a fighter for a reason. I wouldn’t be in this game if I was going to avoid fights.”

October 30th 2016 – Geraghty claims he ‘won’ the first fight
Geraghty, who is now preparing for an Irish super featherweight title fight with James Tennyson, agrees with Carroll that the rematch should be built – although feels he would beat his rival easily.

He told FightStoreMedia that “I think it’s time to let it build and I heard Jono turn around to the boys and say he would fight me again but he wants more money and I do understand where he’s coming from.”

“I would fight him tomorrow because I do believe that every day of the week I am better than him. That day was a once off, and I still won that fight, it wasn’t a loss it was a disqualification. I was winning the fight, it would be different if I was losing. I was winning on all judges’ cards going into the last minute.”

“But I do understand it could build into a bigger fight, I hope he keeps winning and I keep winning and I wish him all the best. It should happen in the future.”

October 31st 2016 – Carroll rants online about Geraghty
Following Geraghty’s interview with FightStore, Carroll blasted his rival on Facebook. He posted that “I love the way Declan Geraghty has to mention me in every interview because I’m his world title and big money fight.”

“Like a big child that can’t take his loss. You keep saying you didn’t lose because of these imaginary score cards which I’ve never seen – and in anyway, who gets the score when the fight gets stopped?”

“You couldn’t take your beating like a man you had to do something to get out of there. I know it, you know it, we all know it. You had to start using your head cause your hands couldn’t hit anything. Grow up and take your beating like a man, people would respect you more if you just accepted it and moved on. You keep going on and on and, to be honest, I don’t know whether you’re trying to convince the people or yourself that you’re a great fighter.”

“You’re good yes, but you’re soft and don’t have heart, and me and you know that. Pretty Boy is right, that’s exactly what you are and that’s all you will ever be.”

“Let me make this clear for the fans: I’m number one in Ireland at super featherweight and, no matter what, win, lose, or draw, you will never be a true Irish champion unless you fight number one – which is me bitch boy. Best of luck, you better win cause I want you bad.”

“So next time we meet in the ring don’t worry about it. I’ll spark your pretty face so you have no excuses. You’re going to get smashed up when we meet. I promise you that.”

November 4th 2016 – Geraghty dismisses Carroll rant
In an interview with Irish-Boxing.com, Geraghty refuses to be comment on Carroll’s rant.

“Listen, I don’t want to talk about him,” he said. “Come back to me after Christmas and maybe then. I have loads I could say about him, but for now I am only thinking of Saturday [a warm up fight v a journeyman].Then it’s James Tennyson. Tennyson is a tough opponent, that’s a real fight.”

“I don’t want to waste my breath on Carroll that’s for next year and then people will know all about it.”

November 5th 2016 –  Geraghty responds angrily to Carroll
Following “it’s all good banter. When the fight happens, it happens. He’s saying he wants to fight me. Me and the team put it out two years ago, after the [first] fight, we were fighting on s Sky Sports bill, we offered him the fight publically. He never got back to me so fuck the cunt.”

“I said from the start that I wanted it. There’s no point in talking about the fucking thing, I’ve been wanting it for the last two years and I still haven’t gotten it. I’m going to take the Irish title and if that cunt wants it he knows he’ll have to come get me.”

“I don’t give two fucks about him so fuck him, when the fight happens, it happens. I want the fight, he says he wants the fight, we’ll get it on probably next year. At the moment I’m focused on Tennyson who on paper is a better opponent than anyone I’ve fought.”

January 3rd 2017 – Geraghty names Carroll as 2017 target
Listing his targets for the year ahead, Geraghty earmarks Carroll as one of four names he would like alongside Mitchell Smith, George Jupp, and the one man he did actualy fight and defeat, Michael Roberts Jr.

Geraghty said that “the Jono Carroll fight could be made this year if the team think it’s the right time and for the right money.”

March 9th 2017 – Carroll predicts Geraghty will beat Tennyson
Ahead of Geraghty’s Irish title with James Tennyson, Carroll picks his rival to win the belt.

He told Irish-Boxing.com that “I think Deco wins, but it’s not as easy as he thinks it might be. To be honest, Tenny ain’t going to show him anything he hasn’t seen in the amateurs. I think Deco wins all the early rounds and loses two, maybe three, of the late rounds. It’s a good fight, I just think Deco edges the win with the early rounds.

March 10th 2017 – Tennyson stops Geraghty
Up on the cards, Geraghty is stopped in the sixth round by James Tennyson. Afterwards he suggests a fight between his two conquerors.

He told Irish-Boxing.com that “I would love to see him and Jono go at it. This is a hard sport so I won’t take the piss out of anybody including Jono and Tennyson, but we are all the same. We all believe we are the best and want to prove it. I didn’t do as well as I should have tonight, but it is what it is.”

james tennyson

Summer 2017 – Good wins all round
A strong Summer for the pair saw Carroll drop Johnny Quigley twice and eventually run out a split decision winner in Belfast in June to claim the IBF East/West Europe title.

The following month, Geraghty rebounded from his Tennyson loss to score a win over unbeaten Scot Michael Roberts Jr in Scotland.

October 3rd 2017 – Carroll v Geraghty rematch announced
The long-awaited rematch is finally confirmed and will play out as one of the chief support bouts for Carl Frampton’s debut under new promoter Frank Warren – or so we thought.

November 3rd 2017 – Carroll predicts Geraghty will pull out
“But this time I don’t want to frighten him off. That is the main reason I’m keeping it quiet. I’ve literally not put a video up of training or nothing like it because I know he will get scared and pull out. I’m surprised he hasn’t already. Ever since this fight has been made I’ve told everyone he’s going to pull out. That why I was delighted it hasn’t been made before now because I know for a fact that would have been his way out, saying he hurt his hand or something. He loves his excuses.”

November 8th 2017 – Geraghty pulls out of Carroll rematch with hand injury
The pair would clash online after, following days of speculation, Geraghty confirmed his withdrawal from the bout due to ligament damage in his hand.

Carroll was unhappy with the withdrawal and Geraghty would subsequently offer him a challenge stating that “you’re already saying you ain’t wasting any more time so sounds like you’re pulling out of the rescheduled fight already so I’m putting this up so everyone can see this, so your fans and my fans all can shut-up talking shit.

“We’re both fighters and I one hundred percent want to fight you and if you’re so sure I’m a pussy and can beat me, put your purse up for a bet and I’ll do the same, as easy as that. And before you say I might pull out again, if the fight doesn’t go ahead for any reason at all on my side I’ll pay you €2,000, can’t get any fairer than that. You want the fight or not?”

Carroll responded with venom, and told Geraghty that “you’re the biggest wanker I ever met in my life.I’ll take your bet no problem, but you’re off my radar for now because you pulled out like a little bitch that you are. You done all the talking last time and now you pulled out so I’m done with talking, come back when you found your balls.”

November 13th 2017 – Geraghty slams Carroll for pull-out ‘prediction’
Following his withdrawal, Geraghty claimed that Carroll had known that he was injured when he spoke to Irish-Boxing.com the week before.

Speaking to the same publication, he said “listen, that clown knew I was out of the fight when he did that interview with you last week. He knew I had to pull out of the fight and he does an interview saying he thinks I might pull out. I was already out of the fight and he knew it.”

November 18th 2017 – Carroll wins v De Santiago
Carroll defeats late replacement Humberto De Santiago in Belfast.

Beforehand, Geraghty had spoken to IFL TV and dismissed the level of Carroll’s opponent as well as revealing that he carried a nose injury into their first fight.

Carroll was asked for his response and blasted his rival for his attitude to the sport.

November 27th 2017 – Carroll says he needs a “shit-ton” of money for rematch
In an extended interview with Gavan Casey of the42.ie, Carroll explains his frustrations at having the Geraghty fight fall through, says he would need big money for a rematch, and describes how he gave up a heavy marijuana habit right before the first fight.

January 11th 2018 – Geraghty questions if Carroll wants a rematch
In an interview with Irish-Boxing.com, Geraghty reveals that he has heard rumours that Carroll does not want a rematch. He explained how “I’m game and I want it. Is he game? You will have to ask him. I have heard some stories saying he is, but then I have heard whispers he doesn’t want the fight. All I can say is I said yes and I hope to God it happens this year.”

January 12th 2018 – Carroll responds, promises Geraghty a rematch
Geraghty’s comments did not go down well with Carroll who took to Facebook, promising a rematch and throwing plenty of insults towards his rival.

Carroll described how “This is a fight that only you have called out for. No one asks me about you, if anything they all say ‘don’t waste your time with this muppet’. You never heard a story that I didn’t want this fight because those words never ever came out of my mouth – so unless one of your yes men made a story up to keep you happy, you’re talking brown once again.”

“I’ll talk to the team and fling you a bone once again – but you better not pull out or you will never get this again, I promise you that. I’m only happy to smash your head in. So when I get offered good money to smash you up I don’t need to think twice about it.”

March 31st 2018 – Geraghty calls for Carroll following Quigley win
After beating Johnny Quigley in Preston, Carroll is one of a number of names mentioned by Geraghty – and he noted the differences between their respective performances versus the Scouser.

Geraghty said that “I went to his [Quigley’s] backyard, 20 minutes away from him and beat him by three rounds. He went over to Jono’s backyard and [Jono] won on a split-decision. That says it all.”

May 2nd 2018 – Rematch Announced (Again)
At the start of this month the rematch was confirmed for the Mick Conlan homecoming undercard at the SSE Odyssey Arena in Belfast on Saturday June 30th and both took snipes at each other at the opening press conference.

Carroll questioned Geraghty’s heart, describing how “this isn’t three rounds, you’re a good fighter for three or four rounds but you haven’t got heart and I’m going to smash you – plus you haven’t got a chin. When it gets to the nitty-gritty we’re going to see who does right and who does wrong.”

“You need to know boxing to give a boxing lesson. I’m looking forward to seeing what he brings to the table. Deco does a million things wrong. he does all the basics wrong, I do all the basics correct. I don’t do anything amazing but I don’t need to do anything amazing because what I do is effective.”

“I just want to go head forward, smash him up, finish him, and put all this to rest before I move on with my career.”

Geraghty promised to outskill Carroll, and said that “the cream always rises to the top. Jono knows I’m a better boxer than him. He’ll say I don’t have his heart but you don’t have to fight when you’re a supreme boxer. I proved my heart anyway in the James Tennyson fight. I kept getting up.”

“I’ve always wanted this. If you gave me the chance to fight anyone, I’d pick him. Some label this as the biggest rivalry Ireland’s seen. I don’t know if it is but it’s big. It’s definitely something I always wanted but it’s not like my whole career revolves around him. His doesn’t revolve around me either. It’s just a good fight but it’s a fight I’ll win. I’ve got a chance to right the wrongs but there’ll be no emotion. This is a business.”

The two then sat down for a joint, largely cordial, interview with IFL TV:

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