Middleweight Agyarko to star on undercard of Conlan-Wood WBA featherweight battle
CAOIMHIN Agyarko will star on the undercard of Mick Conlan’s bid for the WBA featherweight title in Nottingham on March 12.
Conlan challenges belt holder Leigh Wood at Nottingham Arena and explosive middleweight Agyarko intends to grab the chance to showcase his rapidly developing punching power and skillset and get the night off to a winning start for the Irish by extending his six-fight stoppage streak.
Now 10-0, the former Holy Trinity ABC star stopped unbeaten American Noe Larios Jr to win the vacant WBA International middleweight title in December and he’ll defend that belt in Nottingham.
“I’d have liked to have been a bit more active last year,” he admitted.
“But towards the end of the year things started to look really good for me in terms of signing a new management deal with Eddie Hearn at Matchroom Promotions and DAZN and picking up my first title. It was a good end to the year and I’m buzzing to be going into 2022 with a bit of momentum and I’m looking forward to getting started again.”
Agyarko had been promoted by Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions until last October but when his contract expired Hearn was quick to make an offer and correct the mistake he’d made a couple of years previously when he passed on signing Agyarko at the outset of his pro career.
“I was coming out of contract with Frank and I didn’t know if I would stay with him or if there would be any other offers on the table,” Agyarko explained.
“But there were and thankfully I did have offers from a couple of promotional groups but Eddie was interested and the deal was just right for me. I feel like I’ve gone with the biggest promoter in boxing.
“Eddie Hearn is king over boxing and he is giving everyone great opportunities. He told me he’d had the chance to sign me when I first turned professional but that I was an unknown quantity and he didn’t want to take a punt on me.
“After he saw me fight he actually said: ‘I’ve made a big mistake here’ so he has taken a big interest in me and his plans align with me and my coaches and manager. We plan on headlining in Belfast by the end of the year and that was the deal-breaker for me because – nevermind money or titles or whatever else – my goal is to be a superstar in Belfast and to give the Irish fans big nights to remember.
“They’ve always supported me so that was my main objective and Eddie had the same vision, so it made it an easy decision for me.”
After March he plans to fight in the summer and again before the end of the year and it his hope is that he’ll be the headline act in his native city. Of course he has ambitions to travel to the USA as well and says Matchroom intend to build him as a global star.”
Agyarko had a mammoth four-month camp before his most recent fight and he looked in terrific shape as he dismantled Larios jnr in Liverpool on the undercard of Conor Benn v Chris Algieri a month ago. The ramrod double jab he slammed into the American’s nose in the early seconds was a statement of intent and he finished off a game, but outclassed, Larios (who went into the fight unbeaten on 14-0) midway through the ninth.
Articulate and polite outside the ring, Agyarko is a spiteful and aggressive fighter inside the ropes.
“I train extremely hard,” he said.
“I put in the hours in the gym and I’m happy just to win, regardless of whether it’s a stoppage or whatever. But my last six opponents haven’t gone the distance with me so that shows that I am an explosive fighter and that I hit hard.
“The hard work is paying off and I want to keep the knockout streak going but I’m just happy with getting the win.”
Who’s out there for Agyarko at middleweight? He doesn’t intend to go down the British title route but there are a few Irish middleweights well capable of giving him a test on home soil perhaps later this year.
Luke Keeler, Jason Quigley and 14-0 Connor Coyle (the Derry native who is making waves in the USA) have all been mentioned as possible opponents down the line. Keeler and Quigley have both reached world title level but lost to WBO king Demetrius Andrade.
“Down the line they’d all be great fights for me,” said Agyarko.
“They have a lot more experience than me but in two-three fights’ time there’s no doubt that I could challenge one of them.”
AS a youngster, Caomhin Agyarko was star-struck when super-middleweight champion Brian Magee came through the familiar doors to check in at the Holy Trinity gym and Agyarko went back to his Turf Lodge roots when he visited the club to take eager youngsters for a training session last night.
The 10-0 middleweight prospect is based in London for fight camps but he is a regular visitor to his old gym when he’s back home and he takes great pride in helping out the next generation of stars at the west Belfast fight academy.
“I like helping out and trying to pass on my knowledge to a younger generation,” he said.
“Without Holy Trinity and the coaches there and what they did for me I wouldn’t be in the position I am today. I feel it’s my job to go back and help out and give something back.
“I remember being a little kid and looking up to the fighters coming through Holy Trinity like Brian Magee, Bernard Dunne and Damaen Kelly who were the pros at the time. I remember looking up to them and if I can go back to the club and inspire the next generation then I’ll do that.
“It’s somewhere I’ll hold close to my heart for the rest of my life. I joined the club when I was seven years-old and I was there for 14-15 years and they gave me so much, so to go back and help to inspire the next generation means a lot to me and it’s something I take great pride in doing.”