JONSON McClumpha’s hopes of an English title challenge have been ended in a bloody mess in Sheffield.
The showdown of the unbeaten middleweights between McClumpha and Lewis Taylor ended with a sixth-round stoppage after a cut eye.
The Sunderland boxer suffered the wound in an accidental head clash in the first round of the English title eliminator and despite excellent work in the corner from cutswoman Nicola Douglas, the cut got worse in the fifth.
Both boxers came out for the sixth at Hillsborough Leisure Centre but referee Michael Alexander asked for the ringside doctor to examine the 24-year-old.
The medic indicated it should be stopped and after consulting with McClumpha’s coach, David Binns, Mr Alexander waved it off.
Given the bout had reached halfway, it went to the referee’s scorecard.
With Mr Alexander marking it 49-46 to Taylor, the unbeaten Derbyshire fighter was declared the winner.
It was desperate luck on McClumpha who admitted afterwards he had struggled to see after the first round.
McClumpha started the final fight of the night as the slight underdog - while undefeated in nine bouts, rival Taylor was without a defeat in 15.
But it seemed the underdog may have his day as he began so positively.
Despite the cut above his eye, the Phil Jeffries-managed boxer did not seem fazed and won the opener.
This reporter also scored the second round for Jonson whose jab was landing constantly and with Douglas stemming the flow of blood, things looked promising.
But from the mid point of round three, Taylor began to land with his own jab and finished the session the better.
Taylor was firmly on top in the fourth which ended with swelling under Jonson’s left eye.
The Dronfield fighter worked well in close in the fifth, scoring with both fists, and while McClumpha connected with a left-right combination Taylor responded strongly.
McClumpha’s cut had worsened noticably and when Mr Alexander brought the doctor to the ring apron, the fight of the night was coming to a premature end.