After watching Michael Conlan extend his unbeaten run to 3(3)-0-0 in Australia with a fantastic performance it was hard not to notice the amazing support he has received in Australia, America and at home which got me thinking about all the other local talent we have on this island of Ireland which largely goes unnoticed.
Boxers from Northern and Republic of Ireland are currently riding a crest of a wave but the only fighters to get big support are Carl Frampton and the newly crowned IBF Bantamweight Ryan Burnett, thinking back to June we had two events staged in Belfast which really shown a light on the talent that is coming out of the two countries.
On Burnett’s Matchroom Belfast Boy card it highlighted local fighters like James Tennyson, Paul Hyland Jr, Padraig McCrory, Sean Magee, Paddy Gallagher, & Feargal McCrory. On one card the fans were able to see seven local fighters who all won and impressed while doing so, then the following week seen Boxnation come to Belfast for the Battle of Belfast card which saw Paddy Barnes take the plaudits with a hard fought win, but other local fighters showcased their skills and they are making moves within the sport, Steven Ward and FV360 A Fighters Journey series participant Tyrone McKenna both are looking more and more impressive which each fight. Ward has been confirmed as performing on the under card for the Carl Frampton V Andres Gutierrez fight on 29th July 2017 in Belfast and Tyrone is moving onto bigger and better fights in the very near future.
I want to give a mention to another fighter on the card and that is David Oliver Joyce the former Ireland Olympian who is also a FV360 A Fighters Journey participant who looks to have something special about him and with him looking to move up the ranks quickly he is surely one to watch. Then there is a star in the making in Lewis Crocker who is currently fighting at Welterweight and being tipped by his promoter Frank Warren to be the next Superstar from Belfast. The fact more events are pencilled in for Belfast should get local Boxing fans excited and the talent is there to be watched but the message appears to be falling short to the fans who are missing out in some great contests and performances. Other Fighters making moves are Jamie Conlon and Conrad Cummings who won’t be long fighting for World titles.
An example of what you can expect from one of the events in Belfast has to be Jono Carroll’s fight and victory over John Quiggley in what can only be described as a potential UK fight of the year contender. In front of a not so packed Waterfront hall two men gave their all in an epic encounter for the vacant IBF European super feather weight Title. To me local boxers all over the world need the support of the local fans and it was a shame this fight did not have a sell-out crowd watching it like it deserved.
This fight in particular I was excited to see from the fighter’s record neither fighter had tasted defeat and someone’s 0 had to go. Carroll started very pacey with a few nice body combos getting in and out pretty fast. Quiggley was being reactive rather than proactive, his gloves for the majority of the fight where down and he was relying too much on his reaction speed and reading of Carroll’s footwork to keep him out of trouble, but Carroll was in Quigley’s face the whole fight the clash of styles made this fight very entertaining.
The first round sees Carroll catching Quiggley with a glancing right hand that wobbles Quiggley’s leg a touch with Quiggley refusing to keep his hands up this led to his two knock downs in the second round. Carroll took advantage of Quiggley’s dropped hands and throws a lunging right hand that catches Quiggley square on the chin forcing him to the floor. Quiggley gets back to his feet but Carroll was all over him trying to end this as a contest, what crowd there was became a lot more vocal with Carroll exerting a lot of energy. Quiggley throwing the odd punch back but not really connecting but this opens him up for Carroll to land three good shots that sees Quiggley go down again for the second time in the round.
Quiggley’s reaction speed had slowed considerably since his first knock down which allows Carroll to catch him almost at will even with Quiggleys gloves up for protection Carroll works Quiggleys body. In amongst all of Carroll’s hard work to end this Quiggley responds with a few shots of his own which sees Carroll develop a cut above his left eye. The crowd’s volume increased somewhat during this amazing round but Quiggley sees out the rest of the round somehow.
Round three sees both fighters find their rhythm as Quiggley fights on the back foot and Carroll commanding the centre of the ring. This continues through rounds four, five and six with both fighters sticking to their respective game plans. Trying to force Carroll into a mistake Quiggley takes to show boating a lot but Carroll keeps his concentration and continues to get into Quiggleys face. With Carroll being the aggressor he quickly gets a lot of rounds given his way.
Round Seven sees Quiggley changing his style slightly and now uses his gloves to absorb a lot of Carroll’s shots while using his quick foot work to escape the danger. At one stage Carroll swings big but Quiggley sees it coming and releases a nice left hook of his own while dodging Carrolls follow up it was almost like watching Mayweather himself. This round and round eight follow a similar pattern with Carroll and Quiggley both maintaining a somewhat fast paced fight but both take it in turns to show signs of tiredness, Quiggley comes out the better in these two rounds.
Carroll gains a second wind and takes round Nine to Quiggley letting fly with some big shots catching Quiggley flat footed against the ropes, Quiggley responds swinging wildly but misses wildly to. Round Ten sees Quiggley command the centre of the ring for the first time and Carroll takes his turn on the outside. Carroll is hit with a solid left hand from Quiggley but Carroll takes it well and marches on unfazed.
Round Eleven sees the roof come off the stadium as both fighters unleash heaven and earth upon each other, the crowd is now electrifying as both fighters pick up the pace and stand their ground and go toe to toe, blow for blow! You could see both fighters were running on empty and having to dig deep with neither wanting to give an inch. Carroll was going for combos while Quiggley was going for the knock out.
Into the final round and the crowd are still on their feet getting behind both fighters. Carroll comes out throwing some big shots but Quiggley read them well and avoided the danger. Quiggley hits Carroll with a body shot who returns with a body combo of his own. Again both fighters go toe to toe! Exhaustion has caught up with both fighters who gave their all. The Judges’ score cards read 113-114 in favour of Quiggley, 115-111 in favour of Carroll, and the final judges score card reads 115-111 in favour of Carroll.
This was a truly thrilling fight especially coming into the final rounds. I would recommend watching the fight on the video/ Link below. For me Carroll won the Fight overall and showed great professionalism especially when faced with Quiggley’s show boating. Carroll was in his face the whole fight and never let Quiggley have time or space to dictate the fight.