Adam Etches has to go back to the drawing board after losing to John Ryder over 12-tightly contested and at times gruelling rounds at London’s Olympia.
Etches, who turned 26 last month, had boxed only once since Summer 2015 and battled on despite an eye injury before losing to a unanimous decision.
Southpaw Ryder, age 28, whose only stoppage came via Nick Blackwell in the same year did the cleaner work.
The contest had been promoted as a ‘cross roads fight’ for both and Etches must now reassess after his second career defeat.
Ryder, from Islington, seemed to handle Etches’ undoubted power - and occasional switch to southpaw - efficiently.
Trainer Dom Ingle had been imploring him to go for the body and stop over-reaching at the end of round four but he in the period to follow he walked into several big shots and his eye started swelling up.
Ingle stated the obvious: “He’s hit you with everything” as he tried to make his man re-group. And the ‘Birley Bomber’ responded behind his jab. Round 10 was a Ryder success though- blood streaming down Etches face - and it was no surprise to see the IBF International super middleweight title go to the Londoner.
Scorecards ruled a 117-111, 116-112 and 118-109 advantage to Ryder.
* Kid Galahad (Abdul Barry Awad) pronounced himself “sick and tired” of fighting inadequate opponents after stopping Nicaraguan Leonel Hernandez, a last minute replacement for former world champion Joseph Agbeko, absent through illness.
Hernandez’s right eye was closing at the third break and was retired by his corner. He’d offered little against a fast-tempo, varied onslaught. It wasn’t exactly Box Office - but it was hardly the Wincobank warrior’s fault.
Pound for pound great Andre Ward complimented Galahad for “responding like a champion” to the late change.
* Credit goes to Doncaster ref Howard Foster, who stepped in at the right time to stop Chris Eubank Jr’s sustained attack on Renold Quinlan at the top of the bill.
Eubank s moved into contention for a world title fight later this year after stopping the Australian in 10 rounds.
The victory - in his maiden fight at super-middleweight and the first on the new ITV Box Office platform - saw the 27-year-old win the lightly regarded IBO belt he claims should be treated as a true world title.
It remains to be seen whether he will return to middleweight or remain at 168lbs, but there is little question greater tests than the little-known Quinlan await.
The opening exchanges showed the Aussie, also 27, to at least be as fast as his challenger.
It took until the end of the third round for Eubank Jnr to begin to impose himself when landing numerous punches as they fought on the inside by the ropes, and until a left hook in the fourth for Quinlan, also 27, to briefly appear hurt.
A lack of true power has undermined Eubank Jnr in many of his previous fights, and it again appeared that would be the case until the sixth, when first an uppercut, then a right hook and finally a hurtful barrage left his opponent troubled.
From the seventh, and after taking further left-right combinations, Quinlan was a fighter being worn down and content to survive.
The eighth and ninth became increasingly one-sided, as the aggressive Briton landed with ease and the resilient Australian clung on in a period when referee Howard Foster should have waved the action over.
The 10th remained similarly damaging until, with the tough Quinlan no longer able to defend himself from Eubank Jnr’s latest barrage, Foster ended the fight after two minutes and seven seconds to protect him from further punishment.
Victory at super-middleweight means George Groves and James DeGale have joined Billy Joe Saunders as domestic rivals, and it is hoped will lead to a significant fight in the coming months.
The once-promising David Price’s career was earlier left in ruins after his latest stoppage defeat, this time by Romania’s Christian Hammer.
Price, 33, has now been stopped four times, and will hereafter struggle to rebuild his reputation, despite the previous two coming against opponents it later emerged had failed drug tests.
He was exceptionally close to winning a competitive affair in the fifth when he knocked Hammer down with a right uppercut at the end of a hurtful combination.
Hammer, who lost to Tyson Fury in 2015, responded in the sixth, before forcing referee Phil Edwards to intervene after 82 seconds with the tiring Price defenceless following a lengthy barrage against the ropes.
Finally, 2012 Olympian Andrew Selby - the younger brother of Wales’ IBF featherweight champion Lee - impressed in earning a unanimous decision at flyweight over Ardin Diale of the Philippines via scores of 100-90 on the three judges’ scorecards.