Ted Cheeseman suffered a tenth-round knockout to lose the British super-welterweight title to Troy Williamson after a brutal contest at the Echo Arena in Liverpool last Saturday.
It was a typically epic Cheeseman show with both fighters trading vicious blows from the opening bell.
Unbeaten 30-year-old Williamson had the Bermondsey fighter on the ropes early in the tenth. Cheeseman took some huge punches but was still managing to fire back before Williamson finally dropped his opponent with a right uppercut followed by a left hook.
It was the end of a thrilling contest in which both fighters had spells on top before Darlington’s Williamson delivered that devastating finish.
Cheeseman marginally edged the first three rounds but Williamson responded in the fourth and by the fifth Cheeseman had suffered damage under his left eye.
Both men traded massive right hands at the end of that round before Williamson rocked Cheeseman with a big left in the seventh, though there was a suggestion a slippery canvass contributed to him losing his balance.
But in another thrilling round Cheeseman turned it around and Williamson was hanging on in the final 30 seconds after shipping three vicious right hooks.
The action was unrelenting as neither man took a step back with the momentum switching back to Williamson in the ninth.
Williamson continued on the attack in the tenth with Cheeseman taking severe punishment before succumbing 46 seconds into the round.
Cheeseman needed treatment but promoter Eddie Hearn later confirmed that the 26-year-old was okay.
The defeat left Cheeseman’s record at 17-3-1, while Williamson is still unbeaten (17-0-1).
“It was a very tough fight,” Williamson said. “We knew exactly how tough it was going to be. I worked me ass off in the gym.
“I showed everyone how tough I am tonight. I’ve come up the hard way, and now everybody knows what Troy Williamson’s all about.”
Both fighters earned widespread praise after the epic.
Former world champion Tony Bellew tweeted: “Wow! Wow! Wow! He literally pulled that out the bag! Hoping Ted is OK as he gave that everything!
“Troy Williamson is a serious puncher! Both fought to extreme levels of exhaustion there. You can only watch in awe and applaud…”
A devastated Cheeseman gave an update on Instagram on Sunday.
He wrote: “Doing this post, to say I’m gutted is an understatement but I’ve got a beautiful fiancée, a lovely little boy and a very supportive family and team.
“Three years ago I was down and out after the [Sergio] Garcia fight, a secret gambling addict and my coach Tony Sims and Tony’s mate Bryn got me into Sporting Chance Clinic.
“I turned my life around, become two-time British champion and ranked number 4 in the world when other coaches and teams would have left me in the gutter. So I can only thank them for their help/support.”
Outside of boxing, Cheeseman has his own building company.
He revealed in the post what his future plans are.
He continued: “Last night never went the way that I wanted it to but now [I] can have a good long rest, nice holiday and sit down with my team and decide what’s next for me in my life.
“Had loads of nice messages of support and gained a lot of respect from all of the FOTY [Fight of the Year] contenders I’ve put on for everyone.
“Thanks for all the continued support…and all the opportunities I’ve been given, it’s much appreciated.
“I hope I’ve given you all a good journey up to now – but now time to rest and recover and we’ll go from there.”