Boxing can be the most cruel of sports - and the most mind-boggling.
Maxi Hughes’ step up onto the national stage ended in bitter disappointment, frustration and likely a great deal of anger that will simmer for a long time.
The Doncaster fighter was denied a further step towards the British super featherweight crown by a ruling of a majority draw from the ringside judges, despite having heavily favoured opponent Martin J Ward down twice and enjoying more than his fair share of the fight.
And rather than planning his assault for the Lonsdale belt, Hughes will be left wondering when his next big chance will come.
The hyped Ward himself is unlikely to be in a rush to fight Hughes again after the trouble he was given on home turf at Bethnal Green on Saturday night.
But a rematch should be on the cards after the controversial ruling which ensured Ward remains unbeaten despite losing his perfect record.
He took the most baffling of scores of 95-94 from one judge while the others ruled 95-95 and 94-94 to leave the majority draw.
The tight scoring came despite two knockdowns in Hughes’ favour. A clash of heads was a major factor in the first while Ward likely slipped for the second. But despite the nature, the knockdowns were still counted.
Rossington lad Hughes had Ward down in the second, following up a clash of heads with a fine right hand. And after Ward made the count, Hughes piled on the pressure.
Hughes had the bit between his teeth but met a good jab from Ward who started to find his feet again.
But the Londoner was downed again in the fourth, stumbling after a strong assault from Hughes. Ward rallied in the seventh and eighth, getting back to his jab and beginning to work off it. But Hughes piled on the pressure once more as the final bell approached,