Jono Carroll produces a remarkable performance to defeat former world champion Scott Quigg and have the latter considering his future
Scott Quigg vs Jono Carroll, the super-featherweight main event at Matchroom’s Manchester Arena show, was an intriguing fixture. It pit a former world champion, at super-bantam, who had endured gruelling fights and serious injury, against a world title challenger who had succeeded at a lower level but was bigger and fresher.
Southpaw Carroll, from Dublin, is a career super-feather who, while not a huge puncher, typically sets a ferocious pace but was well beaten in his courageous for the IBF belt a year ago, by then-champ and future sparring partner Tevin Farmer. Prior to that, likeable Jono had got the fortunate end of a highly contentious draw with Guillaume Frenois, to secure his shot.
Quigg had endured a tumultuous time since his WBA 122lb reign was ended by Carl Frampton in their 2016 unification scrap. A trainer switch, from Joe Gallagher to Freddie Roach, followed and the Bury box-fighter took three decent scalps at featherweight but the wheels came off in March 2018. The day before a projected WBO chance against Oscar Valdez, Quigg scaled two-and-a-half pounds overweight. He could no longer win the title but still put forth a typically tenacious effort, breaking the Mexican’s jaw but suffering a broken nose en route to a unanimous decision defeat. Quigg made a successful return seven months later but a severe biceps injury last year scuppered a match with Jayson Velez and recurrence of the problem delayed this showdown from December.
The general consensus was that if Quigg, now reunited with Gallagher, still had something significant left and did not take too long to shake off the inevitable ring rust, he should prevail, albeit in a tough tussle. The conclusion, after almost 11 painful sessions, for fighter and his fans alike, was that Quigg apparently retained precious little of his peak years while Carroll had added extra dimensions to his game, as he utterly dominated the faded ex-champ.
Carroll began moving laterally, as compact Quigg stalked behind a tight guard. The eye-catching shots in the opening round came from the Irishman, especially a beautiful left uppercut through the guard. Quigg started to close the distance in the second, focusing on the body but still be outmanoeuvred for the most part. Carroll was razor-sharp and outlanding Quigg, but he was throwing and moving a great deal to remain in the ascendancy.
Carroll, looking a division bigger – as Quigg summarily used to compared to his opponents at super-bantam – used his faster feet and hands to beat Quigg to the punch. The Bury fighter was guilty of following his adversary around rather than using the angles that were so effective in his prime. Carroll, cut by the right eye but composed, would wait for Quigg to set his feet, snap one or two punches out, then move to the side. Scott was punished in the fifth round and, by that point, he was beginning to look like a ‘shot’ fighter, trying to force what once came naturally. All credit to Carroll though who had never looked so sharp or poised. Even Frampton and Valdez had not dominated Quigg to this degree. Scott remained in dogged pursuit but by halfway it already seemed a lost cause.
If Carroll was a puncher, Quigg may have been stopped or knocked out by this point, yet he bravely laboured put for the second half of this scheduled 12-rounder. On the few occasions Quigg landed a clean shot, Carroll endeavoured to respond with two, eager not to let his opponent gain confidence. Jono’s fitness and discipline were phenomenal. Quigg took some serious stick at the end of the eighth and had yet to win a round. The ninth was less pronounced but Quigg continued to get slowly busted up and beaten down. It was a sad sight.
The 10th brought more of the same but Quigg was a warrior to the last; there has never been any quit in him. In the 11th the decision was finally and rightly taken out of his hands when, with Quigg under significant pressure yet again, trainer Gallagher threw in the towel, and the referee halted the one-sided bout.