Just like starting over: Jay Carrigan-McFarlane interview

Martin Chesnutt
13/06/2018 2:50pm

Glasgow's Jay Carrigan-McFarlane tells Boxing Monthly about his hopes for the future now he has moved from heavyweight to cruiserweight...

After 16 amateur fights and a 5-3 record as a professional heavyweight, 20-year-old Jay Carrigan-McFarlane makes his cruiserweight debut on Saturday night, fighting for the vacant Scottish cruiserweight title.

Change and new beginnings can be very exciting.

The young Glaswegian describes himself as “a go forward and awkward boxer” who likes to have a tear-up, but trainer Zidane Adam believes his pupil has a lot more to offer, quickly reinforcing new habits and a way of thinking.

“He will be slicker, more technical, more counter-punching, more movement. He’s got the skills and, for a big man, 6’3”, he can move. Taking him to cruiserweight was the right decision.”

A professional boxer for 18 months, the Scot says the decision to start in the heavyweight division was a combination of laziness and being too comfortable.

Although slightly taller than his favourite ever boxer, Jack Dempsey, Carrigan-McFarlane is not huge by modern heavyweight standards, and he often found himself on the inside working the body, rarely being able to step back and win from the jab.

He’s sure he’ll show a different version of himself in his new weight class.

“At cruiserweight I’m able to show my talent, rather than just my toughness.”

“I’m not just a one-trick pony anymore. Before I was a good chin and a puncher, and that was it. It’s like a video game when you unlock different levels, I’ve unlocked so many things [talents] that I had all the time.”

He is part of the growing MTK team, and has re-applied himself to allow the move to cruiserweight.

jcf2Weight can fall off a younger body easier, but a strict combination of diet, sports science and a more intense training regime were required in this instance to sensibly allow the move down from heavyweight.

Adam also realises that with time on his fighter’s side the duo can work on thinking and adapting better in the ring, rather than hitting the default ‘brawl’ button.

While he’s gaining experience and confidence, Carrigan-McFarlane is cautiously thinking ahead without getting carried away.

“Before I’m even looking at future title fights, I need to develop more as a fighter, and it’s something I’m quite open about. But after this I’d look for a Celtic title, which then puts you in the mix for the British title, then Commonwealth and European titles.”

He is also moving to cruiserweight at an exciting time for the division, which was given a shot in the arm by the World Boxing Super Series.

So who is the best cruiserweight in the world?

“[Oleksandr] Usyk or [Murat] Gassiev is the safe thing to say, but I think Usyk beats [Tony] Bellew, Bellew beats Gassiev, and I think Gassiev can beat Usyk. One of those three is the best in the world now, if Bellew decides to come back down.”

As for his opponent on Saturday night, Fijian Ratu Latianara (5-2), Carrigan-McFarlane is feeling confident to say the least.

“I expect him to come out in full survival mode. I’ve sparred with Ratu before. He thinks he can outbox me. He knows he can’t stop me.

“When we sparred before, when I used to go toe to toe, he hit me with some cracking shots, and he knew he wouldn’t be able to move me. He’s got a confidence, and I don’t know where he’s getting his confidence from.”

His coach expects the fight to go no longer than two rounds, and Carrigan-McFarlane gave several other reasons why he believes he’ll be leaving with the belt.

“I’m bigger, harder, stronger, faster. He’s going to come out with his hands up high, tuck up and swing a wild shot now and again, and hope for the best. I think it’s going to be an early night anyway.”

MTK Scotland’s ‘Summertime Brawl’ show takes place on Saturday 16 June 16 at the Paisley Lagoon Centre, in Paisley, Scotland.