Jono Carroll Gets A Decision Over Andy Vences
Two top ten WBA ranked contenders at junior lightweight locked horns on the undercard of Evander Holyfield’s return against Vitor Belfort. #7 ranked Andy “El Tiburon” Vences and #4 ranked Jono “King Kong” Carroll both had an opportunity to get their careers back on track.
JONO CARROLL (20-2-1, 5KO)
Carroll hit the European scene after winning the 33rd installment of Barry Hearns’ “Prizefighter” within the lightweight division in 2014. He outpointed contenders Stephen Foster, Gary Buckland and Michael Devine to rise as one of the top fighters hailing from Ireland. That status would be solidified and transferred into him becoming a world ranked junior lightweight after beating Jason Quigley and Declan Geraghty for a second time by June 2018. By December 2018, he would be ranked #4 by the IBF and had garnered buzz from heated social media exchanges with then champion Tevin Farmer.
However, his career quickly took a slide. That same month he drew with #3 ranked contender Guillaume Frenois in what was supposed to be a title eliminator to name Farmer’s next opponent. Although the fight was ruled a draw, many fans watching felt Frenois was snubbed of a victory. Nevertheless, he would still get the fight with Farmer three months later in his first world title bid and bout on United States soil. King Kong resembled nothing of his nickname as he was dominated over twelve rounds.
Carroll bounced back with a very encouraging knockout victory over former WBA “regular” super bantamweight champion Scott Quigg in March 2020. However, the success was short lived as he dropped an expected victory to underdog Maxi Hughes five months later. This loss promptly evicted King Kong from boxing discussions of who the next top junior lightweight contender would be.
ANDY VENCES (23-3-1, 12KO)
Despite not having the standout amateur career some of the other up and coming contenders had, Vences managed to gain a decent following as his pro career kicked off. However, his resume doesn’t match the kind of buzz he once had. His biggest win came by a technical decision against former undefeated prospect Casey Ramos in 2016.
Once he stepped up in competition, his lack of top level skill was exposed. Two wins after a draw with undefeated prospect Erick De Leon in 2018, El Tiburon was thoroughly out-boxed by rising contender Albert Bell in 2019 for his first career defeat. His second defeat and the most damning one came a year later when he dropped a split-decision against underdog Luis Lopez.
Vences has more to prove as his resume does not hold much water compared to Carroll’s.
AN EVEN START
This bout in honesty was a bit dull in the first half with both men giving away as many rounds as they won. Carroll came forward and wanted to show the judges he dictated the pace of the fight. Meanwhile, Vences fought more on his back-foot looking to counter his aggressor.
The problem was that neither fighter was very accurate. Carroll would win his rounds based on sheer aggression while Vences stole rounds whenever he would apply some aggression of his own.
El Tiburon picked up the pace in round seven and started to show a difference in class with his counter-punching ability. By the end of round eight, Carroll had a slightly damaged left eye in which he admitted hampered his vision in the post-fight interview.
JUST ENOUGH TO WIN
However, the damaged eye did not deter King Kong. He found a second wind, picking up his aggression and punch output in the final two rounds. The only thing Vences could do was back-peddle which ultimately did not benefit him in the eyes of the judges.
After the final bell, the judges returned with a majority decision. One judge could not name a winner as he scored the fight a draw. The decision would be overruled with two scorecards that read 97-93 in favor of Carroll. The right man won, although, the Fight Club commentators including former President Donald Trump would disagree.
With the win, King Kong will lie in wait as he anticipates a call to face WBA “regular” champion Roger Gutierrez.
By: EJ Williams