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'You'll remember Thomas O'Toole's name' - Galway prospect's stunning 1st-round KO catches Hearn's eye

The 2019 Irish Elite champion was supposed to be graduating from GMIT today but turned up instead in New Hampshire with a spectacular win.

Thomas O'Toole departs the scene after knocking out Mark Malone.
Thomas O'Toole departs the scene after knocking out Mark Malone.
Image: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

PROMOTER EDDIE HEARN says Galway cruiserweight prospect Thomas O’Toole “warrants another opportunity” on a Matchroom show after scoring a first-round knockout that will be “seen around the world”.

O’Toole, the 2019 former Irish Elite champion at light-heavy, gave up almost 12 pounds at yesterday’s weigh-in for his bout versus the also 1-0 American Mark Malone, but the Celtic Eagles BC man brought a spectacular end to their encounter inside just 90 seconds with two punishing left hands.

‘The Kid’ stood respectfully in a neutral corner as opponent Malone remained unconscious on the canvas after eating the finishing hook, checking in on his opponent as the Texan was eventually brought gingerly to his stool.

O’Toole, 23, was supposed to be celebrating his graduation with a business degree from GMIT today but told broadcasters DAZN post-fight that the prospect of fighting on the undercard of a middleweight world-title fight between his fellow Irishman Jason Quigley and American champion Demetrius Andrade was too tantalising to resist.

“For the last four years, I was thinking of my college graduation and I couldn’t wait to celebrate it but being invited to the biggest stage in boxing is amazing,” O’Toole gushed. “I’m happy to be here.

“The whole week, I’m watching Jason and I’m thinking, ‘Maybe… Maybe that could be me.’ But I’ve a lot to go. I’m working with my manager and trainer now and we’re going to keep trying to improve. Even in that round, there, I saw things I need to improve on.”

He was watched by a sizeable audience who made it early to their seats at the SNHU Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire. Among the sprinkling of vocal Irish fans was his former amateur rival Emmet Brennan, who cheered on O’Toole and will do the same later tonight when his former childhood friend and foe, Quigley, climbs between the ropes.

Tokyo Olympian Brennan beat O’Toole in the 2020 Elite final to earn selection over the Tribesman for Olympic qualifiers, with O’Toole consequently turning pro in Boston a year later. In swapping Connemara for Beantown, O’Toole walked the path previously trodden by the legendary ‘Rocky Ros Muc’ Sean Mannion, who is now part of his coaching team.

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thomas-otoole-and-emmett-brennan Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

“It was a big stage so the nerves were there to be honest,” O’Toole said. “It’s amazing to be here and when I first got in there I was just thinking, ‘Okay, just get the jab going, get the feet going, and it’ll fall into place, like’ — which it did in the end.”

As for what’s next, O’Toole said: “I’d like to get back in right away. I’m training full-time so I think I’ll be out again in January. My manager, Ryan — he got me on this card so hopefully he’ll be able to get me out in January again if there’s shows going on. I’ll see: hopefully I can get out on a Matchroom card again. I’m grateful to be here and hopefully I showed something that they liked.”

Matchroom boss Hearn was certainly impressed, indicating that he would be more than happy to invite O’Toole onto a future show. “Nice left hand, backed him up, and then bingoed him against the ropes,” Hearn said.

That’s the kind of showreel knockout you need as a prospect coming through. That’s going to be seen all around the world. People are going to be watching that. That’s how to make a statement. Every time you go out there as a young prospect, you’ve got an opportunity to showcase your talent to the world. And it’s not easy to get people excited with so many different prospects. So the ones that produce performances like that… You’ll remember Thomas O’Toole’s name.

“He’s not signed with us but all of a sudden you produce a performance like that — and he had good support in here tonight — you go, ‘Okay, we’ll roll the dice with this young man.’ That was a performance that warrants another opportunity.”

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