Paul McCloskey has been left with a mountain to climb after falling victim to a controversial loss to Dave Ryan in Leeds on Saturday night.
The former undefeated European light-welterweight champion (24-3-0), was left stunned after a shock defeat to Ryan – in a fight that he looked as if he had won.
Two of his losses were to former world champions Amir Khan and DeMarcus Corely, but this latest defeat will be hardest to take for the talented Dungiven southpaw.
McCloskey had Ryan on the canvas at the start of the fourth round following a stunning right hook to the body, but he was never really in control of the fight.
‘Dudey’ looked like a man who had been inactive for 14 months - but he still seemed to have done enough to win the contest.
But strangely referee Steve Gray awarded a 77-75 verdict in Ryan’s favour - which really should have been the other way round.
This lose will be a major set-back for McCloskey, who had hoped to get himself back in the mix in the light-weltwerweight division.
Meanwhile bantamweight Stuart Hall claimed the IBF bantamweight title on Saturday night.
Hall’s unlikely journey from the drink-and-drug dens of Ibiza to world title glory was realised after a unanimous points win over South Africa’s Vusi Malinga in a genuine fight of the year contender.