PHILADELPHIA -- Tevin Farmer retained his IBF junior lightweight title Friday with a unanimous 12-round decision over Jono Carroll by scores of 117-110, 117-111 and 117-111 at the Liacouras Center.
The fight seemed closer than the scores would suggest but was not a robbery.
Carroll -- a native of Dublin, Ireland, who entered the ring wearing a green hat with a shamrock on it -- launched a relentless body attack in the first round that gave Farmer a lot of trouble throughout the fight. The titleholder scored with southpaw jabs, hooks and uppercuts, but had difficulty holding off Carroll's determined attack.
Farmer (29-4-1, 16 KOs), 28, of Philadelphia, was making his third title defense in six months. He rallied in the 11th round, when he hurt Carroll (16-1-1, 3 KOs), 26, with a hard right to the chin. His follow-up assault had the Irishman in trouble, but Carroll kept fighting.
"Obviously, I was hurt, but my balance was off," Carroll said.
"He was tough, but I was ready for it," Farmer said.
Farmer said he thought he could take out Carroll in the 11th round, "but I messed my hands up. A true champion has to fight through it. I know that guys at this level aren't going to be easy. You've got to be in shape to go 12."
Farmer also took the 12th to make his third successful title defense.
"Tevin Farmer was very good tonight," Carroll said. "He was stronger than I thought he would be. I was supposed to block his jab. I did it well the first two rounds, but I swayed off the game plan. He's a world-class opponent, but I had fun tonight."
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn said afterward that a fight between Farmer and WBA junior lightweight titlist Gervonta Davis was the match "the whole world wants to see." Both fighters have previously claimed to want the fight.
Also Friday night, Katie Taylor (13-0, 6 KOs), 32, of Bray, Ireland, unified three lightweight titles by stopping Rose Volante (14-1, 8 KOs), 36, of Sao Paulo, Brazil, at 1 minute, 40 seconds of the ninth round.
Taylor, who won a gold medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics, was in charge throughout the scheduled 10-round bout. She floored Volante in the first round with a short right to the chin.
Volante kept pressing forward, but Taylor was a superior boxer and puncher. As the bout progressed, Taylor began to sit down on her punches, belting her opponent to the head and body almost at will.
Taylor unleashed two furious barrages in the eighth round, but the game Volante somehow managed to survive until the bell. When the one-sided beating continued in the ninth, referee Benjy Esteves terminated the fight to save Volante from further punishment.
"She was a very brave champion. She was what I expected," Taylor said. "The [knockout] was the icing on the cake."
In other bouts Friday night:
• Maciej Sulecki (28-1, 11 KOs), 29, of Warsaw, Poland, survived two ninth-round knockdowns to win a unanimous 10-round decision over Gabe Rosado (24-12-1, 14 KOs) by scores of 95-93, 95-91 and 95-91 in a give-and-take middleweight bout.
Sulecki got off to an excellent start, dropping Rosado in the first and eighth rounds. Rosado was outboxed and outpunched most of the fight, but never gave up and staged a grandstand finish.
Rosado, 33, might have stopped Sulecki in the ninth, but the bell rang shortly after Sulecki got up from the second knockdown. The Philadelphia veteran had another big round in the 10th round, but Sulecki stayed on his feet and lasted until the final bell.
• Luke Campbell (20-2 16 KOs), of Hull, England, stopped Adrian "Chinito" Yung (26-6-2, 2O KOs), of Los Mochis, Mexico, at the 1:27 mark of the fifth round of a scheduled 10-round lightweight bout. Campbell dropped Yung in the fourth with a left to the body, and when he staggered the game but outclassed Yung with a series of lefts to the head in the fifth, referee Eric Dali call a halt to the one-sided match.
• In an exciting a grudge match between two Philadelphia lightweights, Avery Sparrow (10-1, 3 KOs) won a 10-round majority decision over Hank Lundy (29-8-1, 14 KOs) by scores of 96-94, 95-93 and 94-94. Sparrow, 25, floored Lundy twice with rights to the head in the second round, but Lundy, 35, rallied in the later rounds with body shots that forced Sparrow to hold.