Dubliner Jono Carroll produced a career-best performance to outclass former WBA super-bantamweight champion, Scott Quigg en route to an 11th round stoppage at Manchester Arena on Saturday night.
Despite starting the super-featherweight bout as the underdog with the bookies and facing a partisan crowd, Carroll was dominant from the first bell. His work-rate, movement and accuracy for the duration of the bout highlighted the ring-rust in Quigg after 18 months away from the ring.
Setting up behind a very effective southpaw jab, Carrollconsistently found space to unleash combinations to the body and head and questions can rightfully be asked as to why it took until the 11th for Quigg's trainer Joe Gallagher to finally throw in the towel.
After clearly winning the first round, Carroll kept the pressure on and although Quigg improved slightly in the second stanza, Carroll upped the tempo again in the thrid, fourth and fifth rounds to move well clear on the cards.
A brief Quigg rally in the sixth wasn't enough to win the round and, with Carroll unloading at will, questions started getting asked ringside about what benefit there was in leaving Quigg in the ring to take further punishment.
Had Carroll a little more power in his fists, there's no doubt that the knockout would have come earlier but the cumulative effect of his punches was visibly wearing down the 31-old-year Bury man.
At the end of round 9, Gallagher told his fighter he would pull him out if he didn't show anything in the 10th but despite another exhibition round from Carroll, Quigg was out again for the 11th before the towel finally came in with their boxer trapped on the ropes.
Carroll's win sees his record move 18-1-1, with his single defeat coming to IBF super-featherweight title-holder Tevin Farmer last March. The performance should open doors for Carroll as he looks to move back into contention for a second world-title shot.
"In the build-up, I have always said this was my time to shine," he told Sky Sports afterwards.
"I was here (in 2015) when Scott knocked out Kiko Martinez wishing I could be up on the big stage.
"This is what dreams are made of. When I was a kid growing up Scott Quigg was one of my idols, he has been in many fantastic fights.
"I've been settling down in the gym more, using my jab and not throwing silly shots. I had a lot of pot shots today, but I didn’t throw a lot of combinations that had no power.
"Even when I was pot-shotting, it had snap, it had power. If we didn’t have power in this fight, Scott was just going to walk through my shots.
"There wasn’t one time when I felt I was gassing or was tired and you saw when I had him on the ropes, I still had the power to whack those shots in. Tonight I showed quality."
An emotional Quigg hinted that retirement may be on the cards, with the miles on the clock from a career where he extracted everything from his talent beginning to show in what was only his third defeat, the others coming against Carroll's fellow Irishman Carl Frampton and Mexican world champion Óscar Valdez.
"This was a must-win fight. On this performance, I don't know what's left," he said.
"I gave it everything tonight and unfortunately it wasn't there. Taking nothing away from him, he was the better man on the night.
"From after the fourth round I just didn't feel like it was there. I was chasing it
"I couldn't have achieved anymore. I cut no corners. I beat world champions, sold out arenas. If this is it, thank you.."
On the undercard, heavyweight, and cousin of WBC champion Tyson, Hughie Fury (24-3, 14KOs) returned to winning ways with a third-round stoppage of the little-known Pavel Sour.