Lowestoft’s Anthony Ogogo’s (11st 5lbs 3oz) professional hopes looked to have gone up in smoke following a torrid third round, which included a bundled knockdown, against Birmingham’s Craig Cunningham (11st 5lbs 8oz) at the city’s Barclaycard Arena tonight.

The vacant WBC International middleweight title was on the line, Ogogo’s first shot at a title since winning middleweight Bronze at the 2012 Games. His pro career has had a staccato rhythm, injuries have hampered him and he lacked fluidity early on.

The 27-year-old had only ever done six rounds going in—against Edgar Perez, Dan Blackwell, Greg O’Neill and Ruslan Schelev respectively—so it looked a big ask for him when he entered the second phase of the fight after being floored and failing to get a foothold in the contest.

Conversely, Cunningham, 28, has twice travelled the 10-round distance, a BBBofC Midlands Area middleweight title win over Prince Davis in December 2014 and a victory over Jason Welborn for Midlands Area light-middleweight belt last time out. The southpaw picked his shots throughout. Sure, there was the occasional dip in output, but he landed the better shots on the highly-touted former Olympian.

Ogogo failed to fire late, and trainer Tony Sims pulled him from during a break in the action in round eight due to an angry swelling by his man’s right eye.

Ogogo (11-1, 7 KOs) will have to rebuild, Cunningham (17-1, 4 early) will move on to bigger things. The stoppage came at 1:27 of the eighth.