After an epic twelve rounds, Jono Carroll this evening scored the biggest win of his career with a split decision triumph over Johnny Quigley in Belfast.
The super featherweight pair went to war for the IBF East/West Europe title on the BoxNation ‘Battle of Belfast’ card at the Waterfront Hall, with Carroll scoring two first round knockdowns and taking a narrow win.
Tempers flared at the weigh-in yesterday with Quigley pushing Carroll during a short staredown and the hostilities continued into a fiery encounter in the Titanic City.
Carroll got the better of a cagey first. The unorthodox style of Quigley saw him avoid plenty from the Irishman, but Carroll got through with two notable bursts, one in the closing seconds, that perhaps gave him the edge.
The fight exploded in the second as Carroll walked the Scouser onto a massive shot that sent him down heavily. Quigley rose but would be pinned to the ropes by Carroll who launched barrage after barrage until ‘Johnny Boy’ went down again. Again Quigley rose and would elect to fight fire with fire, trading clean shots with ‘King Kong,’ who suffered a bad cut to the left brow, until the bell.
Quigley made a strong comeback in the third, keeping Carroll at range to steady the ship, and the resurgence continued well into the fourth.
A backhand left at the start of the fifth took back control for Carroll, who started to push Quigley back. The Everton Red Triangle man was landing plenty of counters, but the tide looked to be turning.
Carroll continued on the front foot in the sixth, another close stanza, with styles clashing, as the Finglas fighter looked to outwork and grind down his stylish opponent.
The Irishman was well on top in the seventh, working the body of his opponent, who had never been past six, to seemingly good effect – although Quigley did have a particularly strong finish which arguably could have snuck the stanza.
Quigley seemed exhausted by the eighth, and while he was in fact fighting off the ropes well, the Carroll ascendancy continued.
A closer ninth, perhaps being edged by Quigley, was taken back by Carroll following a strong final minute,
Carroll staggered Quigley early in a brilliant tenth, and then again with a single big hook, before the Liverpudlian came back with big shots of his own and seemed to hurt Carroll for the first time and he would seem to be emboldened by this hereafter.
An even better eleventh had the entire hall on it’s feet as the pair, both tired, traded for the entirety, with Quigle landing the crisper while Carroll was the busier.
Going into the final round, it was Quigley who finished the stronger, with Carroll having to dig deep to fight off the ropes
Going to the scorecards with the result in doubt, a split decision was called and it was Carroll who would prevail, taking the bout 115:111 on two cards, while Quigley was given a 114:113 scoreline by one judge.
Following the Belfast epic, Carroll moves to 14(1)-0 while the gallant Quigley drops to 14(3)-1(0).
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)