It is 3527 miles from Dublin to Philadelphia, yet it took Irish super-featherweight contender Jono Carroll a boxing lifetime to make the trip. The former Prizefighter champion has grafted his way through the levels, claiming a variety of IBF continental belts along the way. The now defunct Prizefighter format has often acted as a springboard for its winners but “King Kong” had struggled somewhat to gain recognition.
There may be many boxing fans unaware of the Dubliner despite his infectious personality out of the ring and aggressive style in it. Carroll has served his apprenticeship, fighting on small hall shows all around the U.K and Ireland. It is only recently though, with the backing of MTK Global and Matchroom Boxing, that Carroll has come into the wider public eye.
The best win on his ledger came in his second encounter with fellow Irishman Declan Geraghty (Carroll also won the first bout between the two via disqualification). In a brutal display of ruthless aggression, Jono Carroll battered his domestic rival into submission and looked to be finally ready fulfil his potential. Ready to stake his claim at the top end of the 130 lbs division.
His next bout, a final eliminator for the IBF World title, didn’t quite go to plan, however. Frenchman Guillaume Frenois hadn’t read the script and turned up to Sheffield determined to upset the applecart. A split draw left both men’s immediate futures in doubt but Carroll’s backing ensured he got the nod to face IBF champion Tevin Farmer in Farmer’s home town of Philadelphia, USA.
The recent surge of Matchroom boxers making the transatlantic trip continued last month and Carroll made sure he was going to leave with no regrets.
“The whole experience was amazing. I had one of the best weeks of my life over there. I had a ball. Really enjoyed the whole week. Even the making weight!”
It’s not often that a boxer enjoys making weight, never mind admitting to it! What about the fight itself though? He was known for his extremely high output before facing Farmer and he certainly lived up to that reputation. He reportedly threw 1,227 punches over the 12 rounds, compared to the champion’s 823. The difference lay in the accuracy of the combatants. So did Carroll regret his quantity over quality approach? Were there times when his corner wanted him to actually reduce his output?
“Yes that [wasting shots] was one thing we didn’t want to do. I’m known for working hard and punching a lot but then I just win fights. That’s one of the reasons why I don’t knock many people out. And we knew we had to knock Tevin out to get the win in his back yard. So when the punches were single or 2 punches we were punching with power.”
Anyone who knows boxing will be aware of how easy it is to look good and throw punches against a static target. Tevin Farmer is far from that, unfortunately. The Philly fighter is among the best defensive movers in the division. So just how highly does Jono regard his foe?
“I think Farmer is good. He’s a very good fighter but every man can be beat. I think he will do great against the other champions, there isn’t much between any of them.”
This was in stark contrast to the aggravation pre-fight. It seems crazy to me that at the highest level of such a vicious sport, trivial issues such as the style of a man’s facial hair can be a point of contention. Aren’t there rules on beard length? Or is it down to the boxers to agree on such technicalities?
“The IBF rules are not bad. It was the Farmer team that wanted it trimmed up! And sure I didn’t mind, it was due a trim anyway!”
In the modern age of intense boxing beef its refreshing to see boxers acknowledge each other’s strengths and give credit where its due. With that in mind, Carroll and Farmer took that to the next level in the aftermath of their draining battle. Many will already be aware that the pair shared a famous ‘Philly cheesesteak’ the day after the fight (Jono shared the event through his Instagram account).
“Yes well after sharing the ring and bother fighters giving it everything. We had to have massive respect for each other after that. And the cheesesteak happened because after the fight I told him I still want that cheesesteak and he laughed and agreed. So the next day he messaged me on Instagram and asked what I was doing. So I messaged back and said “fuck all just waiting on that cheesesteak haha” So funnily enough then we were walking past his hotel to go to a food market and seen him. So one thing led to another and we got our hands on the best one around apparently. And I must say it was amazing!”
Boxing waits for no man though. And as great an experience as Phildelphia was, his fans can be assured that Jono Carroll is looking towards the future already. Like many before him, he now has a taste of the big time and believes that is where he now belongs.
“I don’t drop much now to rebuild. We know what level I’m at now. So, we don’t want to be in any more easy fights. I want nothing but big fights from here in out.”
He has certainly come a long way since BBB saw him live at the Meadowbank Arena in Edinburgh over 6 rounds. And while we don’t know exactly what the future holds for “King Kong”, he is sure to enjoy it!