Jono Carroll gave Tevin Farmer a tough fight in a world title shot in 2019 but came up short, and returned in March of this year for a really strong win over former 122-pound titleholder Scott Quigg. The 28-year-old Irish southpaw was looking to be right in the mix for another title shot at 130 pounds.
But things didn’t go as planned today, as Carroll took what was meant to be a tune-up bout at lightweight, only to come up short against veteran Maxi Hughes in a 10-round unanimous decision.
Hughes (21-5-2, 4 KO) won on scores of 96-95, 96-95, and 97-93, surely knocking Carroll (18-2-1, 4 KO) out of contention for the time being.
The ESPN+ stream had its issues today for U.S. viewers, so we couldn’t score the fight accurately (you could suggest we have never scored fights accurately, but that’s another story). But though we lost roughly three rounds to stream issues, it was clear in what we did see that Carroll wasn’t near as sharp as he was in March against Quigg, and that Hughes was completely in this fight, and definitely winning some rounds.
Carroll was a huge betting favorite here, around -2000, and the expectation was he’d win and possibly even find himself in another world title bout by next year sometime. Hughes, though, had other plans, and now the 30-year-old has a career-best victory. Hughes had come up short against the likes of Liam Walsh and Sam Bowen in the last two years, plus two losses to Marin J. Ward and another to Scotty Cardle in the past.
“I just knew deep down I had it, and tonight I managed to pull it off,” Hughes said. “Jono brought the best out of me. I can thank him. He’s gracious in defeat, he’s a humble kid, I really like him, and he’s brought the best out of Maxi Hughes tonight.”
“It was a great fight, it was very competitive. His range is better than I thought it was,” Carroll said. “I felt a bit sluggish on my feet, but at the same time, I’ll take the defeat and come back stronger. I’m just shocked I had to go out like this. No offense to Maxi, he’s a good fighter, but I just thought I was better in boxing ability. Maybe I overlooked Maxi. I worked my arse off in training, but there was lots of little things. And that’s not taking anything away from Maxi’s victory, he did very well. His range was spot on, and I just couldn’t find my rhythm. My timing wasn’t there tonight.”
“I’ve had a great win tonight, but I know people are going to say, ‘Who wants to fight him?’ I think I’ll be waiting around a while,” Hughes added. “Whatever comes my way. I’m 30 now, but I seem to be getting better. I’ve had an odd career where I’ve been battered and battered, but I’m always improving, and I pulled a good win out. I’m not calling anybody out unless Mayweather comes out of retirement, give the fans what they want to see! But whatever comes my way, and that’s to pay the mortgage and support my family.”
Sean McComb UD-10 Siar Ozgul
McComb is a 27-year-old junior welterweight, maybe headed to lightweight soon, tall and rangy for the weight at just under six feet in height, and he largely boxes to his skill set, which you sometimes don’t see with fighters who are early in their pro careers, as tall guys have a habit of wanting to fight inside more than you’d think they should. McComb is not one of those guys.
Here, he pretty well dictated range and tempo against Ozgul (15-5, 3 KO), a 27-year-old Turkish fighter who’s been in with some good fighters before, guys like Viktor Postol and Anthony Yigit. Ozgul did have a bit of success here and there when the colorful McComb maybe lost focus a bit, but all in all it was a clear McComb win. Scores were 97-93, 97-93, and 99-92. McComb is now 11-0 (5 KO) with the victory.
“It felt good,” McComb said after the fight. “I’m very blessed to be back here and showcasing my skill. It was hard to take, but I spent time at home working on new things. I got to spend time with my family and friends, which I don’t often get to do. That was good, I took the positives from it. I’m just thankful to get the win and perform the way I do.”
Asked about moving down to lightweight, McComb said he’s confident he can do so comfortably. He had been preparing to fight Craig Evans at lightweight in April.
“I’m very tall and skinny,” McComb joked. “But I’ve got a fantastic nutritionist who knows how to get me to 140. I had a Twix the night of the weigh-in and still made 139. I believe I can make 135. 135’s a great weight class. James Tennyson is a phenomenal fighter, I don’t know about Craig Evans, but that was fight was made before, why can’t it be made again?”
McComb also mentioned Paul Hyland Jr as a possible opponent.
Sahir Iqbal UD-8 Maredudd Thomas
A very tight, well-matched fight between welterweight prospects. Iqbal (8-0, 1 KO) won on scores of 77-76, 78-75, and 78-74. Bad Left Hook scored the fight 77-75 for Thomas (11-1, 2 KO), but this was really splitting hairs in a lot of the rounds, other than an extremely clear fifth for Thomas where he had Iqbal hurt, but couldn’t fully capitalize, both because he’s not a big puncher and because Iqbal tied up and moved quite nicely to avoid further big shots.
I can’t say as though I think either of these guys are headed for world honors or anything, but they look like potential domestic contenders, both of them, and this was a nice prospect matchup MTK put together. I thought both passed some tests here and also still have things to work on, but it was a nice fight for both of the 24-year-olds.
Pierce O’Leary TKO-4 Jacob Quinn
Dublin’s O’Leary (5-0, 2 KO) looked sharp here, dropping Quinn (4-1, 0 KO) on a left hook in the fourth round, with referee John Latham making a fair call to stop the bout, as Quinn just didn’t look good at that point.
The 23-year-old Quinn looked like he had a plan coming, but the 20-year-old O’Leary just proved a different class of prospect, and Quinn was turtling up pretty quickly. O’Leary’s a junior welterweight, young and just getting going, and I’m sure we’ll see plenty more of him on MTK cards to come. He looks like he might have a bit more power than the early KO rate would suggest, too.
Craig MacIntyre TKO-5 Ishmael Ellis (2:49)
Didn’t actually get to see this fight, because as very often happens with ESPN+ and UK shows, ESPN+ had this scheduled to start an hour later than it did, and then came in “early,” which actually meant “about half an hour late.”
UK SHOWS ALMOST ALWAYS START AT 2 PM ET. THIS IS NOT HARD. But it happens. A lot.
Anyway, MacIntyre (12-0-1, 5 KO) is a 25-year-old junior welterweight from Glasgow, he stays unbeaten and Ellis drops to 11-3 (0 KO).