Rising prospect Caoimhin ‘Black Thunder’ Agyarko only has two words on his mind. It’s unrelenting, each question and probe inevitably returning to the same topic. World champion.
“I want to be the first black Irish person to win a world title,” declared the undefeated middleweight from Belfast. “And I will. I want to leave behind a bit of history, a legacy.”
Born in Croydon to an Irish mother and Ghanaian father, Agyarko (6-0, 3 KOs) is unapologetic about where he feels his talent belongs and remains fixated on the ambitious goal he’s set himself.
“I’ve always said I’m not really fussed about winning a British title, and I’m not really fussed about winning a European title, but if I have to pick those titles up along the way to get to world level then I will,” Agyarko told Boxing Social.
“But I got into professional boxing to become a world champion, I didn’t get into it to become British or European or Commonwealth champion. I know how good I am and how good I can be if I stay dedicated, keep progressing and keep learning.”
Agyarko is no stranger to adversity having been stabbed in the neck in 2017 in an unprovoked attack after a night out with his girlfriend. Life as a professional got off to a frustrating start, with hand injuries blighting the momentum Agyarko craved after an impressive amateur career where he won six national championships. Since then, his progression has been excellent with the Northern Irishman exhibiting the boxer-puncher attributes that made promoter Frank Warren snap him up so eagerly.
“I get a lot of people calling me Mini-Mike [Tyson] because I’m short, I’m stocky and I’m strong,” he said. “But then I also get comparisons to Roy Jones Jr, in that I like to use my boxing brain, my fast hands, throw unorthodox shots that nobody would think to throw.”
The Covid-19 lockdown has put the brakes on Agyarko showcasing his skills further, but allowed him to size up the domestic competition that currently stands in his way. One such foe is Stoke-On-Trent’s popular middleweight Nathan Heaney, who also recently joined the Warren stable.
“Nathan popped up on our radar. He’s a decent enough fighter,” said Agyarko. “I watched him fight in Birmingham, an opponent I fought in my fifth fight [Nelson Altamirano] and I wasn’t impressed. So I said to my manager that that’s a fight we can make in the future. He’s an unbeaten fighter and I’m unbeaten, so it would make sense for a title fight. He’s got a great fan base, I’ve got a great fan base. But it’s not just Nathan, [I’ll fight] any unbeaten domestic fighter.”
Agyarko, 23, is grateful to be competing at a time when so many young challengers are willing to risk their perfect records in order to further their ambitions, and he’s keen to replicate the steep learning curve that has benefited the likes of Josh Taylor.
“If it means fighting someone in a 50-50 fight then that’s fine, you’ve got to take that kind of risk to move forward and progress your career because it lets you know where you’re at,” he said.
“If you’re fighting journeymen and getting yourself to 15-0 then you do step up and you haven’t been tested, you’re going to get beat and you’ll be straight back down the pecking order. Whereas if you’re taking them risky fights at the right time, you are going to progress. I want to be in tough fights, risky fights, to show how good I am.”
With an explosive style that’s already got the boxing public talking, and a drive to reach the loftiest of heights, the Belfast youngster is very much one to watch in an already intriguing middleweight division.