Last August, after six months of trials at the Scottish Championships, Southern Irish belt holder Michael Carroll finally made his professional debut. And in his 13-8 win over Nigel Deeley, he made a highlight reel impression.
Carroll’s fists were the main event but his punch bags inspired a British record for total punches thrown – a whopping 219, many of them with perfect accuracy. With a kickboxing background, he’s no stranger to punching the cork bottle over and over. This experience has informed his fighting style and he does things differently, sometimes using gloves to help disguise his punching power.
“The fight was a big success and although I lost, I came out of it better than I went in,” says Carroll. “I left feeling excited for my future and want to come back strong in my next fight.”
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Carroll’s training partner, Colin Smith, a Finn boxer, has been training the fellas while they’re waiting to fight in case one of them breaks a finger. “Colin’s the only person I know that can punch a cork bottle,” says Carroll, who loves CVs. “Sometimes I’ll get someone to show me their jaw before a match and they’ll say, ‘My friends think I’m quite punchy,’ or ‘My girlfriend thinks I’m quite aggressive’. But I like to keep to myself and just ask the right questions of everyone when I see them.”
While in Glasgow, Carroll practised his striking against Robbie Smith of Newhaven. “The guy had the last laugh,” he says. “Robbie started to score, then me, then he scored again. Finally I finished it and put him out of his misery.”
Carroll’s fighting style and confidence are heavily influenced by an American fisted brawler. “I’m also a big fan of MMA and got into the first fight I watched, which was between Matt Grinch and Mike Hackett,” he says. “It was so much fun and exciting – and so much heavier. My first fight was bad, but the second was really nice.”
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Carroll made his plans to go professional clear on day one. “I got a course done early, which was one of the reasons I beat the deadline,” he says. He’s looking forward to becoming bigger than Stephen Curry, Luke Campbell and Josh Warrington. “My fight with Nigel Deeley was about as big as it gets,” he says. “It was nice to watch other fighters win before me and believe in me. But I want to go past them all.”
Being a professional fighter is not easy, though Carroll is keen to stress that some fighters have it easier than others. He can only describe others as winners. “They’re strong, confident and aren’t fazed by anything,” he says. “They think I’m too small and slow, so I’m going to have to prove my worth against them.”
And although Carroll recognises the ever-growing national amateur boxing scene, he loves sparring people who know what they’re doing.
Injury delayed his fight in Glasgow but a later date in January could prove his debut is not a fluke. “And,” he says, “I’m only getting better and better.”
Michael Carroll competes in London on Saturday. All you need to know from Action Promotions