Caoimhin Agyarko will tonight aim to show promoter Eddie Hearn that he is ready to headline a big show in Belfast as he starts his journey with the Matchroom Sports boss.
Belfast man Agyarko will take on fellow unbeaten middleweight American Noe Larios jnr for the vacant WBA international middleweight title over 10 rounds in Liverpool’s Echo Arena on the undercard of Conor Benn’s big welterweight clash with former world champion Chris Algieri, while Katie Taylor makes the latest defence of her world lightweight belts.
When Agyarko was weighing up the next step in his career after three years on BT Sport shows, he had options but Hearn came up with the deal that seemed most attractive and that included the promise of fighting at home. Just when that will happen depends on how quickly Hearn can see that he is ready for a major step up in class.
There is no doubt that Agyarko, who joined the Holy Trinity club at seven years of age, is expected to be victorious tonight but it is how he chalks up another victory that will be most poignant. Hearn has compared the 25-year-old’s exciting style of fighting to that of boxing’s No.1 superstar Canelo Alvarez, but Agyarko insists he is still a work in progress.
“One thing that I know about professional boxing is that you can’t skip levels. I know that I’m still improving and there is no major rush to be thrown in at the deep end but over the next year I want to get world ranked, keep improving and moving up the ranks. I know I’m an exciting fighter and I want to have big nights in Belfast,” said Agyarko.
“In terms of my style I can box on the back foot or the front foot, I’m very heavy handed, an explosive fighter who’s always in exciting fights but what probably sets me apart is my mind because I can adapt and change in a fight when I need to. I’ve got a good boxing brain and that goes back to my amateur days at Holy Trinity with Michael Hawkins.
“I’m super excited to fight for Matchroom and DAZN. It’s a new platform for me and I feel like I’m starting over again. I can’t wait to put on a good performance. I know that Eddie has said he made a mistake not signing me earlier and when we met one of the things that made me sign with him was the fact he said he would give me the chance to fight at home in big fights.
“I’m on a five-fight knockout run and I want to keep that going. I want to improve from my last fight. I’ve made major adjustments in the gym. I’m a much happier fighter with this new team I’m with — Matchroom and Paul Ready. I expect a lot from myself… I always have bad intentions when I step through the ropes.
“When I get in there on the night something just clicks and it’s completely different. There’s a fire burning inside of me and it’s seek and destroy. I expect an explosive, dominant performance and a very impressive stoppage. I feel like I’m boxing’s best kept secret but after December 11 everyone will know who Caoimhin Agyarko is.”
Agyarko should be celebrating an early Christmas present and a stoppage would be the ideal bonus.
Meanwhile, Steven Ward is up against it in Kazakhstan when he takes on local favourite Kamshybek Kunkabayev over 10 rounds.
Cruiserweight Ward accepts he is the underdog but believes that his experience as a professional can give him the edge.
“I’m feeling great about this. I really believe I can cause an upset,” said Ward.