Boxing: End of the world dream for Leicester's Rendall Munroe
Rendall Munroe's dream of winning a world title was surely shattered at Manchester Arena on Saturday night.
The former European and Commonwealth super-bantamweight king was swept aside by Bury's Scott Quigg, who halted the Leicester man in the sixth round of their interim WBA title clash.
While the winner will go forward to fight for the world crown in the not-too-distant future, it is hard to see how Munroe, at 32, can now recapture the irresistible desire and strength that took him all the way to a challenge for the WBC crown two years ago, when he pushed Toshiaki Nishioka for 12 rounds before dropping a unanimous points decision.
Quigg is a major talent and proved on Saturday that he deserves to be at the top table in the 8st 10lb division.
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But he is not anywhere as accomplished as Nishioka was – not yet at least – so to halt Munroe before the halfway stage demonstrates that the city southpaw was a considerable way below his peak.
There was no real suggestion of that in the opening stages.
There were no fireworks in the opening round, although it was quickly apparent that Quigg was targeting Munroe's body with hooks.
Munroe answered with a hook of his own to the head and scored well to the body as the session ended.
That was the pattern set for the remainder of the fight and, while Quigg's attacks did not initially appear to overly concern Munroe, what might have bothered his fans was that their man was unable to consistently push back his opponent – strength having worn down many an opponent on Munroe's glory nights.
However, the first major sign of trouble came in the fifth.
Quigg's focus on Munroe's torso produced some low blows – though referee Terry O' Connor did not step in – but when a left hand caught the Leicester man around the kidneys he dropped his hands to complain.
Quigg's response was to instantly ram home a right hand, evidence that he was there to do the job in the most effective way he could.
That left might have strayed off target but there could be no arguments about the finish as Munroe was halted for the first time in his career.
A venomous left to the rib cage put him on the floor shortly after the halfway stage of the round and, though Munroe was on his feet before the count had reached eight, Quigg had the scent of victory in his nostrils.
He landed again to the body, this time with a right hand, as he followed his initial success.
Munroe beat the count once again but referee O'Connor had seen enough, waving off the contest after 2min 37sec of the round – with little in the way of complaint from the Munroe camp.