Carl Frampton (22-0, 14 KOs) defeated previously unbeaten Scott Quigg (32-1-2, 23 KOs) by split decision to win their unification clash on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena.
Northern Irishman Frampton made the third defence of his IBF super bantamweight title and captured Quigg’s WBA belt after earning two scores of 116-112 from the judges, with the third scoring it 115-113 for Quigg.
The battle of unbeaten champions got off to a cautious start with neither fighter wanting to commit much but Frampton worked his jab to pick up the early rounds. The Englishman caught Frampton with some shots on the counter while Frampton pressed forward and was throwing more punches.
Quigg came alive in the second half of the fight, landing hard blows to head and body. Quigg connected with a left hook in the 7th and unloaded more powerful punches in rounds 8 and 9, but Frampton fired back in the 10th as both stood and traded.
Quigg rocked Frampton with a huge right hand in the 11th, but he could not land the knockout blow that he needed as Frampton battled back in the 12th and landed the cleaner shots.
“I couldn’t believe it was a split (decision),” said Frampton. “I don’t know what that lad was watching, but as long as I got my hand raised at the end of the fight, that’s the main thing.
“We have a great rivalry, and it was a great fight at the end.”
Frampton’s next fight could be against Guillermo Rigondeaux, who is still regarded as the division’s top fighter despite being stripped of his WBA and WBO world titles due to inactivity.
Rigondeaux is still the WBA’s ‘Champion in Recess’ and Frampton must face the unbeaten Cuban by July 27 or relinquish the WBA title.