A bloodied Callum Smith retained the WBA and Ring Magazine titles against John Ryder with questionable scoring by the judges of 117-111, 116-112 (twice) in favour of the home favourite.
What could have been a dramatic night in Liverpool, England, ended in disappointment for the ‘Gorilla’ despite producing a performance many felt was enough for an upset.
Ryder, under the guidance of Tony Sims, was having huge success in backing Smith into the ropes and caused ‘Mundo’ problems throughout.
However, Smith had success in the fifth and sixth and landed some big shots but ultimately it was Ryder who ended the contest stronger.
Assessing his performance, an honest Smith demanded he gets a big clash next: “I knew he was a tough fighter, I knew it was a tough fight.
“It wasn’t the best performance from myself, but I was due a bad one.
“I’m a perfectionist and I always want to do the best as possible. Listen, I know how good I am, how good I can be. I want the best names in the division.
“The fear brings out the best performance in myself.”
Hearn said: “Sometimes when you don’t put in a blistering performance, it makes it easier to make fights. It was never going to be easy for Callum tonight.”
Ryder, who announced himself onto the world stage despite a fifth professional defeat, shared his disappointment.
“I feel like it was harsh and I felt like I forced the fight. I think I’ve done more than enough to show that I’m credible for this. “I’ll come again.”
Earlier in the night, Callum’s brother Stephen tasted victory.
The former two-time world title challenger continued his run to a potential undercard slot at Anfield in a big fight by scoring a third straight win.
‘Swifty’ moved to 28-4. He took every session of six from Jonny Phillips.