Former WBA (Super) Super Bantamweight champion Scott Quigg takes on Jono Carroll over 12 rounds at Super Featherweight in a thrilling main event at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night, in which the loser could well have few places to go in the aftermath.
After a spell training with Freddie Roach, Quigg (35-2-2, KO26) has returned to where he spent his most formative years, alongside trainer Joe Gallagher and will look to kick start his career once again with victory in his home city.
The Bury man made six successful defences of his belt from 2013 to 2015, but then came unstuck in a unification grudge match with then IBF champion, Carl Frampton in February 2016.
In a fight that sadly didn’t live up to the pre-fight hype, Quigg fought through the pain of a broken jaw, but rallied too late in a split decision defeat. He won three on the spin up at Featherweight on his comeback, which lead to a challenge for the WBO title against the feared Oscar Valdez.
Quigg, 31, though weighed in heavy, and lost his opportunity for the belt and then has his nose broken in a points defeat to the Mexican. His last appearance came in Boston in October of the same year, stopping Mario Briones in two rounds.
Carroll (17-1-1, KO3) is much fresher than Quigg and will come to Manchester full of confidence.
A former Prizefighter champion, the Dubliner built his way up to the number one spot with the IBF, but came close to undoing his good work when Guillaume Frenois held him to a draw in Sheffield in December 2018.
The 27-year-old still got his shot though, but found then IBF Super Featherweight champion Tevin Farmer too good in their March 2019 meeting, with the Philadelphian claiming a wide points win.
“King Kong” Carroll has rebounded out in Mexico since, with a ten round points win against the limited Eleazar Valenzuela in August last year.
Prediction: Time is running out for Quigg to re-scale the mountain at World level, and he will no there is no room for error. Providing there is no wear and tear and longer lasting damage from his punishing battle with Valdez, I think Quigg can keep the relentless Carroll at bay, for a tight points victory.
Derby’s Zach Parker (18-0, KO12) gets a chance to shine as he moves closer to a World title shot at Super Middleweight.
The 25-year-old, who is ranked number two by the WBO meets the number one contender, Rohan Murdock (24-1, KO17) over ten rounds for the vacant WBO Intercontinental strap.
After an early career majority decision defeat over four rounds, Queenslander Murdock is unbeaten in his last 22 outings.
His most notable win is a November 2014 sixth round retirement of the faded former WBA champion, Manny Siaca and his last few fights have been against limited opponents.
He has built his ranking on reigns as WBO Asia Pacific champion and is the current WBO Oriental champion, winning the belt for a second time last time out in a shutout win over Rolando Wenceslao Mansilla.
Parker has gained a wider reputation for himself with appearances on several World Boxing Super Series cards and travelled to the SSE Hydro in Glasgow in November 2018 to win the British title with a split decision win against Darryll Williams.
He was last in action in May on another big WBSS night, stopping Steven Crambert in four rounds.
🔥 PARKER-MURDOCK FACE OFF IN HIGH STAKES CLASH
🥊 @zachparkerboxer & Rohan Murdock came face-to-face ahead of their crucial Super Middleweight bout on Saturday night, with the winner securing WBO top spot!
— ProBoxingFans (@ProBoxingFans) March 4, 2020
Prediction: Parker is on a roll, and a win could well bring him a World title shot next time out. Murdock will come to win, but Parker should break his spirit down the stretch for a late stoppage win.
Hughie Fury (23-3, KO13) pulled out of his scheduled meeting with Pavel Sour (11-2, KO6) at the last minute late last year through illness, but the contest goes ahead over ten at Heavyweight this weekend.
Although, only 25-years-old, Fury has failed to deliver when moving up to world level and has suffered points defeats to Joseph Parker, Kubrat Pulev and Alexander Povetkin. The manner of defeat against Povetkin was disappointing to say the least and Fury will look to make a statement against the limited 37-year-old Czech.
Prediction: Sour was knocked out in a round by Filip Hrgovic in October 2017, so Fury needs to really make a similar sort of statement. I can see the visitor withdrawing from battle around the fourth round.
Sadly, a fight that fell by the wayside during fight week was Anthony Fowler’s scheduled bout with Jack Flatley, who was forced to withdraw at short notice due to a metatarsal injury sustained in training.
The Liverpudlian will still defend his WBA International Super Welterweight title, over ten rounds against late replacement, Theophilus Tetteh (19-7-2, KO12).
Fowler (11-1, KO8) has rebuilt since a grudge match, split decision defeat to Scott Fitzgerald in March last year and has outscored Brian Rose and Harry Scarff over ten rounds since and has since changed trainers to Shane McGuigan, with the pair fighting for the first time together on Saturday.
Tetteh shouldn’t provide too much of a stern test for Fowler, with the Ghanaian most familiar on these shores for a five round stoppage defeat to John Ryder back in 2014. He has only fought three times since, all in his native country with all three finishing inside the distance against less than average opposition.
Prediction: Fowler is hell bent on a return match with Fitzgerald, and will need to keep winning for that to happen. I don’t see Tetteh coming to Manchester with much ambition other than to get money in the bank, and after a few rounds where he mostly covers up, Fowler should be able to unlock the door for a stoppage win around halfway.
There are also outings on the bill for Robbie Davies Jr, under new trainer Dominic Ingle, Middleweight Jack Cullen, Super Lightweight prospect Dalton Smith, Ricky Hatton-trained Ibrahim Nadim, as well as unbeaten quartet Aqib Fiaz, Reshat Mati, Blane Hyland and Bradley Rea.