‘King Kong’ Carroll set for home world title challenge

by Jonny Stapleton
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Jono Carroll was last month made mandatory for the WBA super featherweight world title and will challenge Lamont Roach Jr for the strap at a yet-to-be-confirmed date and place.
‘King Kong’ revealed talks to make the fight are underway, running smooth and he expects to trade leather with the champion sometime over the summer.
The ever-entertaining southpaw has, in trademark cheeky fashion, also indicated that the fight could play out in Ireland.    
Venue isn’t top of the former Prizefighter winner’s list of priorities.The former IBF world title challenger just wants to get a shot he’s waited over two years for, but would no doubt welcome home advantage.
“I have a fair idea the way talks are going at the minute and all is good,” he said.
“It’s all positive. I can’t say much more, we’ll just have to wait and see,” he adds before discussing a potential venue.  
“I’ve no preference in that regard. For me I just care about getting in there doing what I can do and winning that world title. I don’t care where it is “Although I’ll give you a hint, I’d love if it was based in Ireland! We’ll see what happens,” he adds through a smile.
With Eddie Hearn currently doing a lot of business in Ireland and with Matchroom having a vested interest in the super featherweight division, it’s a fight they may look at promoting.
The Dubai-based all-action fighter isn’t signed to the DAZN alligned promotional outfit but has worked with them on numerous occasions before and may do so again.
At the weight they have IBF Champion Joe Cordina, who defends against Belfast’s Anthony Cacace in Saudi Arabia in May. The Welsh fighter’s desire the unify is well known and Matchroom could promote Carroll-Roach under the condition the winner fights their man, provided he passes the Apache test.
The likes of Josh Warrington and Leigh Wood are also signed to Matchroom and Wood in particular has talked about wanting to move into the super featherweight division. Matchroom may push for the former Michael Conlan opponent to fight the winner.
Matchroom’s next Irish card will be topped by Katie Taylor and play out at Dublin’s 3Arena.  However, Carroll shared a time frame that indicates that would be too soon. The 31-year-old had a fight with a former world champion lined up for June before he got the Roach mandatory news, he plans to go ahead with that fight before his world title tilt.
Carroll won an eliminator in 2021 when he beat American Andy Vences in Florida. He has been deemed next in line since but has been forced to wait for his shot.

15 March 2019; Jono Carroll, right, and Tevin Farmer during their International Boxing Federation World Super Featherweight title bout at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, USA. Photo by Stephen McCarthy / Sportsfile

Indeed, he had to lobby the WBA to persuade them to order the fight. In true ‘King Kong’ fashion he refuses to bemoan the wait, choosing instead to see the delay as a positive.
“I’m feeling good. It was something I was waiting for, for a very very long time. Everyone kept skipping the queue. I won the eliminator almost two years ago, but all in God’s hands and God’s time because I had a lot of injuries coming off [the Vences] fight. So to be honest I’m very blessed and I’m very grateful that it’s happening now because I feel I will be 100 percent ready for the world title.”

Elsewhere,  Keane McMahon is ready to take a step back so he can two steps forward.

The Dubliner attempted to leap up the ladder when he stepped up to fight American Daniel Gonzalez in Hungtington on Friday night.

It was the second such time ‘The Iceman’ had attempted to skip the boxing queue having fought Jahyae Brown in Madison Square Garden in 2022.

It was also the second time the Steven O’Rourke trained welter went into a big fight on the back of a prolonged layoff. However, he didn’t get ultimate reward for his risk, suffering points defeat on the Star Boxing card.

The 29-year-old now plans to change that formula moving forward. Speaking after his fourth pro defeat he said he will now take a get-busy approach and take some building fights before taking advantage of his team’s Star Boxing link and testing himself stateside again.

“What’s next for me is to rebuild. I’ll take the correct fights now and be active,” the Cabra fighter said.

” As always I am up for any challenge but it’s about getting active and getting the feel for fighting again after such a layoff. I’m taking positives from the fight, I did some top work at times and I enjoyed the experience. I got a quality tough 8 rounds banked too, that’s something to build on.”

McMahon lost to a 78-74, 79-73, 79-73 scorecard. However, despite being competitive against a fighter with title-winning experience who has shared the ring with the likes of Danny O’Connor and Chris Algieri, he wasn’t happy with his display.

“I’ve watched the fight back and am really not happy with my performance I think there’s more I could have done but I take nothing away from my opponent who is a warrior and quality fighter,” he adds.

“I’ll never make excuses my preparation was spot on, I just didn’t perform on the night 20 months away from the ring and got back in there at a really high level.”

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