Jono Carroll found Tevin Farmer too big a challenge to overcome in his first world title bid on Friday, losing to the American by a unanimous decision in their bout for the IBF super-featherweight belt.
The judges scored it 117-110, 117-111 and 117-111 in favour of the defending champion Farmer, who was fighting in front of a raucous home crowd in Philadelphia. It’s the first defeat of the Dubliner’s career whose record now stands at 16-1-1.
Carroll’s all-action style suited the American counter-puncher, who was able to win a wide decision without ever looking in any great danger.
Carroll arrived in the ring in green and white shorts, with Farmer in the red white and blue of the USA. It may have been St Patrick’s Day weekend, but this was Farmer’s back yard.
The Finglas native began brightly in the opening two rounds, having his most rewarding moments of the fight as he threw combinations of four and five punches at a time to Farmer’s body. Unfortunately for Carroll he went back to his corner at the end of the second round with a cut to his eye, complaining to the referee of a possible headbutt.
The two fighters went toe-to-toe in the third round, both landing good hooks to the head with the fight at a frenetic pace, but ultimately Farmer landed the more accurate punches to win the round decisively.
The success of that third round saw the champion find his groove as he began to slip punches with the ease for which he is known, making Carroll both work harder, and miss more.
The middle rounds continued to follow that trend, with Carroll marching forward but Farmer looking relaxed as he was able to box and move, and pick his shots. The sixth round was especially fertile for Farmer as he dropped his hands and landed a number of clean blows to Carroll’s head.
Undeterred, Carroll continued to demonstrate the all-action style that has made him such a favourite among Irish boxing fans but by the ninth round the contest seemed to be heading for an inevitable conclusion as the volume inside the Liacouras Center dropped to a murmur at one point.
By the 10th, Carroll’s eye was bleeding more and the 26-year-old was understandably showing signs of fatigue, while Farmer was cruising.
Indeed the champion hurt Carroll in the 11th round as the crowd rose to their feet cheering for a decisive blow, but the Dubliner clung on to reach the sanctuary of his corner at the bell when a knock-down seemed moments away.
Carroll went into the final round knowing only a knockout could salvage the fight but it never looked possible against an opponent who proved too slick on the night.
There were no complaints as the judges cards were read out, as Farmer (29-4-1) now claims a second Irish scalp in just five months, having beaten Belfast’s James Tennyson last October.