WITH his seventh professional outing taking place behind the closed doors environs of the BT Sport Studios tonight (Friday), Caoimhin Agyarko-Hynes admits it may be a little surreal but the result will decisively be the same.
The 23-year-old West Belfast man will tangle with Jez Smith in what will be his first 10-round contest, a testament to the progress he has made since turning over to the pro ranks in late 2018.
This fight was initially due to be for his first title, but an opponent withdrawal has led to Smith (11-1-1) being drafted in. Whilst that may have been a little disappointing, the former Holy Trinity amateur is looking to the positives and hopes to deliver an impressive performance in this chief support bout that will draw a big TV audience.
“It’s behind closed doors so it will be a bit unusual,” he admits.
“I usually have a lot of family and friends who come over to support me, so this will be a bit different.
“Still, I’m in there for a reason and regardless if there are fans there or not, there’s only going to be one outcome.
“I would have loved to fight for a title on this show, but maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that I can fight for a title when fans can be there. Ideally, that’s what I would prefer as I’d like people there for my first title fight, hopefully in Belfast towards the end of the year even.”
Lockdown rendered sparring opportunities obsolete for several months, but the gradual easing of restrictions coincided with ‘Black Thunder’s’ return to training camp when he got back down to business with his training team.
This being his first fight scheduled for 10 saw tweaks in approach to prepare for the longer duration, but having yet to taste action in 2020, he intends to lay down a marker as his rush towards a first title fight continues apace.
“It’s my first 10-rounder so camp has been a bit different but I’m looking forward to this challenge,” he confirmed.
“It’s not that I’ve been fast-tracked, but I started off on a four-rounder, quickly moved to six, had one eight and now have been pushed into a 10-rounder.
“This was due to be a title fight, but unfortunately, my opponent pulled out. This won’t be for a title now, but hopefully, we can get one by the end of the year or start of next year.
“In lockdown, I wasn’t able to do any boxing training but as soon as I came over to camp, thankfully things eased up so I was able to spar.
“It was tough at the start, but thankfully things eased up a bit and we have been able to train fully.”
Smith has been out of action even longer having not boxed since losing a British Southern Arena welterweight title fight to Samuel Antwi.
That reverse saw the Londoner forced onto the sidelines for the remainder of the year, but will view this as a prime opportunity to get his career back up and running.
Hynes is aware that he faces an opponent who will offer him his sternest test to date but says he is ready and plans on delivering an eye-catching performance that will leave him with seven wins from seven and on the brink of big opportunities later in the year.
“Jez Smith’s a good opponent and has only been beaten once so it is a step-up for me,” he stressed.
“It’s a big opportunity for me as chief support in my first 10-rounder, so you can’t really ask for much more than that. It’s a chance for me to go in and make a big statement.
“I’m looking to put on a big performance and push on from here. I know I have a test here on Friday, so I know I need to perform, get it out of the way and look to see what’s next.”