World title contender Jono Carroll clashes with Maxi Hughes in MTK's first show back after lockdown, supported by a stellar undercard that sees a World Youth title up for grabs.
BBN's Editor Tim Rickson previewed the entire five-fight card that takes place behind closed doors at the purpose-built production stuidos, LS-LIVE, in Wakefield.
Jono Carroll vs Maxi Hughes
‘King Kong’ vs ‘Maximus’ – both boxers have bold nicknames that induce fear and command respect.
Carroll (18-1-1, 4KOs) is coming into the bout following a career best win and performance over Mancunian Scott Quigg.
The Dubliner won a Prizefighter lightweights tournament very early on in his pro career after just three fights, and continued his unbeaten run right up to December 2018 when he was held to a draw by Frenchman Guillaume Frenois (46-1) in an IBF Eliminator. Prior to that stalemate, he scored some very notable scalps over unbeaten John Quigley (14-0) to land the IBF European super-featherweight strap, which he followed with a win over Mexican Humberto de Santiago (16-4-1) to bag the IBF Inter-Continental version, then he defended it with a ninth-round stoppage of Declan Geraghty (17-2) in June 2018.
Despite the draw with Frenois in his 17th fight, Carroll still got his shot at IBF super-feather champion Tevin Farmer, who was just a little too seasoned for the challenger, losing via unanimous decision.
That unsuccessful challenge was in March 2019, and he bounced back five months later with a 10-round points win over Mexican Eleazer Valenzuela (20-11-4), whose last fight was with pound-for-pound superstar Miguel Berchelt.
His fine victory against Bury boxer Quigg brings his career up to date to today. The Celtic Warrior is still only 28 and has only lost the once in 20 bouts, which is an impressive record to have. His experience in a world title fight, going the full 12-round distance should stand him in very good stead when challenging for world honours again. His dominance over hard-hitting Quigg has proven he has learnt a lot in recent fights and should be ready to mix it at the very top again soon.
Maxi Hughes will be another good name for him to add to his resume, but he is not overlooking the Yorkshireman and claims that every fight is treated as a world title fight because Carroll knows just how important it is to keep winning to continue the momentum towards another world title tilt. Currently ranked #12 with WBC and #7 with the IBF, he is in the runnings for world title fights and will not want to let that slip away from him.
Maxi Hughes (20-5-2, 4KOs) has only won two from his last four fights and won't have that same momentum or form coming into this fight like his opponent has.
The 30-year-old has fought for six titles during his approaching 10-year career but has only ever managed to lift one - the Central Area super-featherweight belt, on his second attempt.
Jono should be able to outbox 'Maximus' from the very start of the 10-round contest, racking up most - if not all - the rounds in his favour until either a points win, or if he can really set the fight to his own pace then he could force a stoppage like he did in his last fight against a considerably higher level of competition.
Sahir Iqbal vs Maredudd Thomas
Bolton boxer Sahir Iqbal (7-0, 1KOs) is a real talent, destined to go beyond a WBC Youth title, which is a bauble once held by Canelo, Danny Garcia and Tim Bradley, which is a great omen for any holder of the said title.
He has very quick hands and feet and can hammer in three or four blows to head and body before his unfortunate opponent can even blink.
Welshman Maredudd Thomas (11-0, 2KOs) is a bit more traditional than his stylish opponent is, with very handy stand up boxing skills.
The contest is very likely to go the distance, bearing in mind both boxers lowly KO rates, but with the stakes raised, the competition higher and extra openings than what they're used to against the away fighters that just look to survive, that philosophy may not apply here.
Skillwise, I believe Iqbal is the favourite and may just score points all fight by punching and moving to win on a decision.
Sean McComb vs Siar Ozgul
'Sugar' Sean McComb (10-0, 5KOs), 27 from Belfast, has had a few acid tests lately in the form of tough Frenchman Renald Garrido (24-24-3), which he passed 79-73 on points; which he followed up with another eight-round points win over South American champion Emiliano Dominguez Rodriguez (23-5). In his latest assignment, he stopped two-time Argentinian national champion Mauro Godoy (32-5-1) in six rounds in February this year.
Siar Ozgul (15-4, 3KOs), who McComb counts as a sparring partner and friend, will be occupying the away corner on the night. The Turkish-born Londoner has won just one of his previous five fights. Of those four defeats, he was only stopped once, and that came in the 10th and final round of a Southern Area super-lightweight title fight with Mikey Sakyi (5-2).
He will provide Belfast's 'Sugar' with another good test, but one that McComb should come through comfortably.
Craig MacIntyre vs Ishmael Ellis
25-year-old Glaswegian Craig MacIntyre (11-0-1, 4KOs) faces Birmingham's Ishmael Ellis (11-2).
Both boxers share the same number of wins and have each challenged for Area titles unsuccessfully.
'Ish' has experienced a third more rounds in the professional ranks, but he steps in at late notice to replace Darren Surtees after he became injured.
Contractual issues with a former manager, a family illness, and the pandemic has meant that MacIntyre has only fought once in the past 20 months.
His father Neil, a prominent figure in amateur boxing in Scotland, became terminally ill with cancer and very sadly passed away in September 2019. Craig now has an extra drive to chase glory and win titles in his dad's memory.
In his only fight that didn't end in victory against Welshman Henry Janes (12-22-2), he refreshingly admitted that training went well, preparation was perfect, but his performance on the night was simply not good enough.
With just three weeks notice, he stopped Chris Adaway (9-56-4) in three rounds in June last year to bounce back in style.
Now a part of MTK Global, with contractual difficulties behind him, MacIntyre will be fully focused on securing win no.12 on August 12.
Pierce O’Leary vs Jacob Quinn
Pierce O'Leary (4-0, 1KO) has been training for close to 10 weeks now at the thriving iBox Gym in Bromley, Kent, where bantamweight sensation Dennis McCann learns his trade.
The Dubliner has experienced sparring with plenty of different styles in that time, including Welsh Area super-lightweight champion Kieran Gething, and claims to be more than ready for anyone stood in front of him on fight night.
That opposing figure is fellow unbeaten fighter Jacob Quinn (4-0), 23 from Huddersfield.
The southpaw has won all four fights onn points since his debut in August 2018. Both 140-pounders have only tested themselves against the usual suspects so far, which makes it hard to tell who will prevail in this 'Battle of the Unbeaten'.
O'Leary has shown more promise and skill in his performamces and he does like to hit hard, even though his record doesn't suggest it yet. He is called 'Big Bang' for a reason and it's possible that, aganst a winning opponent with ambition, he will score another stoppage in this six-round contest.