Dublin boxer Phil Sutcliffe Jnr has failed in his bid to win the IBF Intercontinental super lightweight title after a controversial loss against unbeaten Middlesbrough fighter Josh Leather in Leeds.
Experienced British boxing referee, Howard Foster – who stopped Katie Taylor's fight at Wembley last month - called a halt to a thrilling contest one minute and 44 seconds into the sixth round after Leather caught Sutcliffe with two cracking right shots.
The Dubliner, whose father Phil Snr was working his corner, had only lost one of his 13 fights and who had never been stopped, looked able to continue – indeed, he managed to land a punch himself despite being under pressure, but the referee thought otherwise as he stepped in between the fighters.
"I think the fight was called off a bit early,” said Sutcliffe in a TV interview afterwards.
“It should never have been stopped,” he suggested though he acknowledged that Leather – who used his superior range to telling effect – was the better boxer on the night.
“He was the better man on the night, I under-performed,” he acknowledged.
Sutcliffe won the first round but Leather dominated the rest of the contest on his way to collect his first belt in the professional ranks.