Gary Fox was unable to mark his ring return with a victory as old foe William Warburton spoiled the comeback at the Summer Rumble.
The Fishburn fighter was back in the ring after a 15 month absence.
Fox had not taped up his gloves since losing in a challenge for the English lightweight title against Kirk Goodings at the Metro Radio Arena in March 2014.
The Neil Fannan boxer was handed a tough assignment at the Stadium of Light – a third meeting with seasoned Lancashire lad, Warburton. The scoreline stood at 1-1 before yesterday’s match at Sunderland’s football ground and it was Warburton who has now taken the lead in the series.
Warburton may have the record of a journeyman but he does not fight in that fashion as he demonstrated yesterday.
Fox ploughed forward in the first couple of rounds and twice had Warburton pressed against the ropes but the sharper work and punching came from the away fighter.
The former South DurhamABC crowd pleaser came out for the third in determined fashion but it only served to jolt Warburton into action.
The 28-year-old thundered a series of rights into the head of Fox, who was forced to hold on several times.
Fox did get through the round and despite showing signs of fatigue in the last session, he fought to the end.
Referee Andrew Wright scored it 39-38 to Warburton, who deserved the victory but Fox is a fighter and hopefully he’ll be back.