Carroll, William (‘Willie’) (c.1880–c.1930), boxer, gymnast, rope-climber, and co-founder of the Irish Amateur Boxing Association, was born in Moore St., Dublin, but there are no details of his background or family life. A strong, highly talented athlete, Carroll was equally proficient in a number of sports. As a gymnast he was a leading member of the City of Dublin Gym Club and received the sobriquets of ‘international gymnastic’ and ‘the Moore Street athletic wonder’.
In 1908 he represented Ireland at the international sports celebration in Rome that had been organised to celebrate the jubilee of Pope Pius X. He reached the final of the rope-climbing competition on 26 September 1908 and secured the gold medal, a fellow Irish representative, Sebastian Bregazi, coming second. On another occasion Carroll broke the world record in rope-climbing by a number of seconds.
Carroll's lasting legacy was in the boxing arena. He was a powerful boxer in the featherweight division, and was highly respected by his peers. In April 1911 he won the Dublin Amateur Society featherweight boxing final at the Antient Concert Rooms, Dublin. At the end of this meeting an announcement was made that an Irish Amateur Boxing Association was in the process of being formed to foster and develop Irish boxing talent. One key objective was to ensure that representatives chosen by this body would contest a major title with their British equivalents annually.
Carroll was a leading force behind the creation of the IABA, and was a founding member at its inaugural meeting later that year. Retiring from active participation in sports, Carroll dedicated himself to the world of boxing, becoming a trainer, promoter, and referee. He helped his son, Willie Carroll junior, to found the St Andrew's Boxing Club at York St., Dublin, which went on to become a leading boxing club in the city. Carroll was also one of his son's trainers, and Willie Carroll junior went on to win the national senior championship, at flyweight, in 1923.