Massive underdog Maxi Hughes 21-5-2 (4) has sprung the upset on former world title challenger Jono Carroll 18-2-1 (4), claiming a 10-round unanimous decision victory in their all-southpaw showdown at Production Park Studios in Wakefield, England on Wednesday night.
Ireland’s Carroll, 28, was coming off an impressive 11th round stoppage of former world champion Scott Quigg but he failed to bring that form to the ring as he struggled to adjust to Hughes’ timing and rhythm.
When the dust settled the 30-year-old Hughes was awarded the victory by scores of 96-95, 96-95 and 97-93.
“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.”
Carroll was despondent in defeat.
“It was a great fight, it was very competitive. His range is better than I thought it was,” the IBF number seven and WBC number 12 super featherweight contender 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.”
Hughes was unclear about his future, admitting he doesn’t have the profile to call out the big name fighters despite his upset win.
“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 said.
“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.”