WERE Jay Carrigan-McFarlane’s life to be made into a film, most observers would dismiss it as being just too far-fetched to believe.

Much of the 21-year-old’s life has been stranger than fiction, and he has already experienced more than most could ever imagine.

As a ten-year-old, Carrigan-McFarlane went to the Dominican Republic on holiday with his mum and little brother, but she was arrested for smuggling hundreds of thousands of pounds of cocaine, which then saw Carrigan-McFarlane and his brother thrown into an orphanage in the country.

And it was not, as one might expect, a pleasant experience.

“It was horrific,” he said.

“My wee brother and I were bullied – we were the only white people and we honestly experienced reverse racism. Nobody spoke English so we had no idea what was going on. The rest of the kids got fed but they just gave us bananas and some raw meat, they just threw it at us like animals.”

After two weeks in the orphanage, Carrigan-McFarlane’s grandparents came and rescued them and they returned to Scotland but the Glasgow man was not ready to settle for a quiet life.

He already boxed - as an eight-year-old, he was what he described as “documentary fat”. He weighed 13 stone as took up boxing as a way to get active.

However, the minute he laced up his first pair of gloves, he fell in love with the sport, predicting that he would box on the biggest stage in the world. He was not wrong.

In just his third fight as a professional, Carrigan-McFarlane fight at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2017, becoming just the fifth Scot to fight at the iconic venue.

But he didn’t grasp the opportunity as he should have, and lost to American Matt McKinney.

“I was an immature little boy and I let it all go to my head,” he said.

“As soon as the bell went, I was trying to kill the guy and it just didn’t work out.”

Following his appearance in New York, Carrigan-McFarlane went onto become Scottish cruiserweight champion, before ultimately moving up to heavyweight.

And it is as a heavyweight he has been handed the biggest opportunity of his life so far, bigger even than Madison Square Garden in his eyes.

This evening, Carrigan-McFarlane, who is managed by Sam Kynoch, will take part in Ultimate Boxxer, which will see eight fighters battle it out for the prize of £16,000.

The Scot is the youngest of the fighters, and is seen by most outsiders as the underdog, but he does not see himself as an outside bet.

“I know every single person on that roster sees me as the underdog but I don’t see myself as that,” he said.

“On boxing ability, I’m the best in the tournament but my lack of discipline and lack of fitness is what puts me on a par with these guys.

“I fancy my chances – I’ve been drawn against the second favourite (the unbeaten Englishman, Mark Bennett), but that doesn’t faze me one bit.

“I have zero pressure. As soon as the bell to end the first round goes, he’ll start to panic I think because he’ll then realise what he’s facing. People see me as the wee fat joker from Glasgow who’s just coming for a laugh which I am, but I’m also there to fight. And it’s going to be a shock to him when he realises what he’s up against.”

There is little doubt that Carrigan-McFarlane has talent, but it is his work ethic that he admits can let him down. His experience in the Dominican Republic did, he admits, affect him for quite some time, but he has now let go of those demons. However, there is still a voice inside his head telling him not to bother going to the gym to train.

“I hadn’t let go of everything that had happened but then I did a documentary for Box Nation and I spoke about everything and that really helped me. When I let it all out, it was such a weight off my shoulders” he said.

“It shaped me as a person. For a long while, it made me a bad person and I didn’t like the person I was. I was holding in a lot of anger but now, I’m happy.

“I know that me fit, there’s not many people who could live with me like that. but I can’t force myself to train. It’s like I’m two different people.

“It’s like the wee devil on one shoulder and an angle on the other. The angel is telling me to train and the devil is telling me to carry on. The devil always wins.”

Carrigan-McFarlane admits he doesn’t know quite what he can achieve in this sport. He is in no doubt though that as much as he wants to win fights, he wants to be seen as an entertainer too.

“I don’t see myself as the best boxer in the world, I see myself more as an entertainer. My idol is Freddie Mercury, which is pretty unusual for a boxer,” he said.

“I’m in two minds about how I can do. I’ll go as far as my discipline will take me, as far as I’ll allow myself to go. I don’t see myself doing this sport forever though – I want to leave this sport with my health. I’ll do it as long as I still love it.”