Josh Warrington left himself with too much ground to make up on Saturday as he surrendered his IBF featherweight title to Luis Alberto Lopez by majority decision.
Ringside judge Howard Foster scored the bout 114-114 while Mike Fitzgerald and Adam Height scored for Lopez by a 113-115 margin.
Mexico’s Lopez started fastest and took the majority of the opening six rounds at Leeds’ First Direct Arena with relentless pressure on the front foot.
Warrington struggled to get his own shots away to keep off the oncoming Lopez whose momentum continued to grow into the second half of the fight.
The 29-year-old Lopez complained of low blows and illegal use of the head, with the fight momentarily halted at 1:53 of the ninth following an alleged stray shot from the Leeds man.
The final four rounds saw a late rally from the champion to close the gap on the scorecards but it looked a case of too little too late as the final bell sounded.
Warrington remained open to a rematch against the Mexican post-fight following the second defeat of his professional career.
Lopez meanwhile criticised referee Bob Williams for failing to protect him from what he perceived as illegal tactics by Warrington throughout the contest.
Ebanie Bridges made the first defence of her IBF bantamweight title in style with an eighth-round stoppage of fierce rival Shannon O’Connell.
Bridges appeared hurt by a right-hand in the final minute of the first but regrouped to floor O’Connell with a well-timed right of her own two rounds later.
Relentless pressure backed up by punishing right-hands continued to force O’Connell back as the fight approached the halfway point.
Bridges became increasingly dominant in the second half with more hard rights which left the challenger breathing heavy in the corner as the final rounds approached.
More accurate right-hands rocked the chin of the challenger who was saved from further punishment by referee Howard Foster at 1:45 of the eighth round after another damaging Bridges flurry on the ropes.
Middleweight Felix Cash clashed with Austin ‘Ammo’ Williams at ringside ahead of the pair’s anticipated showdown in 2023.
Cash was speaking moments after defeating Celso Neves by a score of 77-75 on referee John Latham’s scorecard following an underwhelming performance by the Brit.
“If he got cut up and busted up in this fight, y’all know how Ammo punches. I end guys”, said Williams.
“Who are you pullin’ up on? I’ll knock you spark out”, responded Cash before shoving the unbeaten American to officially mark the start of the build-up of an intriguing coming together next year.
Liverpool super-welterweight James Metcalf forced America’s Courtney Pennington to retire after six rounds.
Metcalf overcame Kerman Lejarraga in May and picked up his second victory in Leeds ahead of potential title shots in 2023.
Former bantamweight champion Shannon Courtenay marked her return to the ring with a 77-75 victory in her eight-round contest versus Gemma Ruegg.
Courtenay surrendered her title in December last year in defeat to Jamie Mitchell and pledges to retain world honours in 2023.
Local favourite Hopey Price also dominated Jonathan Sontana over eight rounds.
Price expressed desire for a British title shot in 2023 after winning every round on Latham’s scorecard.
Sheffield’s Junaid Bostan forced a fifth-round stoppage of Athanasios Glynos at super-welterweight while lightweight Cory O’Regan halted Antonio Rodriguez in three rounds.
Super-bantamweight Koby McNamara secured a 40-37 victory against Nabil Ahmed while Rhiannon Dixon dominated Kristine Shergold in their eight-round lightweight contest.