Carl Frampton beats Scott Quigg on split points decision
Carl Frampton was crowned unified world super-bantamweight champion after beating Scott Quigg on points at Manchester Arena in a fight that only caught fire in the final few rounds.
The much-anticipated showdown between two fighters who both went into it undefeated was widely regarded beforehand as a 50-50 contest, although Frampton was marginal favourite with the bookmakers.
And it was the Irishman who eventually emerged triumphant after 12 rounds in front of a cacophonous 20,000 sell-out crowd, winning on a split decision to add Bury-born Quigg's WBA title to his own IBF belt.
With Republic of Ireland soccer boss Martin O'Neill joining Irish actor James Nesbitt and racing legend Tony McCoy ringside for the bout (below), the opening six rounds were a lifeless affair that struggled to catch fire.
Once Quigg was told by his corner that he needed to up the tempo of the fight and get after Frampton, the mood changed, by the Irishman had a big enough lead to hang on for a career defining win.
“I couldn’t believe it was a spilt [decision]," said Frampton. "I don’t know what that lad was watching. He needs to take a long hard look at himself.
“I knew it was going to be a boring fight - I had to sell it for TV. I knew I has the brain to do that and make it boring."
Quigg suggested he may have had a rough deal from the judges, as he called for a re-match.
"In the second half of the fight I started putting my foot to the pedal and I had him going in the 11th," stated Quigg.
"I wasn't going to steam out at someone as good as Carl, I had to show respect to him.
"He caught me with a good shot in the fourth. I think my jaw has gone.
"Fair play to him, it was a great fight. With the judges' scorecards, I should have started faster, but it's too late now. "I'd love a rematch."
Frampton wins on split decision but the Belfast man won more comfortably that the score card would suggest #FramptonQuigg— Sean McGoldrick (@SeanMcGoldrick1) February 27, 2016
Frampton's promotor Barry McGuigan insisted a re-match would be pointless as he set his sights on bigger and better fights, yet this was a night when the pride of Ireland got the job done even if he was not at his brilliant best.
Ireland's finest boxer has delivered the goods and now the baton passes to Conor McGregor as he prepares for battle in Las Vegas next weekend.