Kilburn’s Ashley Theophane lost on a split points decision against Pablo Cesar Cano on the undercard of Floyd Mayweather’s mega-fight with Saul Alvarez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
It was a sterling effort from the former British light-welterweight champion, who was recently snapped up by American superstar Mayweather’s promotional team.
Knowing a victory would put him in the frame for a world title shot, Theophane, 33, gallantly came through some anxious moments and almost pulled off a brilliant win.
Mexican Cano, a renowned puncher, former world title challenger and the overwhelmingly favourite, was caused plenty of problems in an enthralling 10-round contest.
Theophane boxed particularly smartly in the second round, showing excellent movement and landing with a number of left-hand counters and a thumping right.
He was, however, himself tagged by a big right in the third before staggered by a cracking left hook.
The Londoner had some success in the fourth but also took a left-right combination which left him with a bloodied mouth.
Theophane showed tremendous heart – and a great chin – in the fifth, somehow staying on his feet after almost being floored by a thunderous shot and then managing to wobble Cano with a left hook.
And, having weathered the storm, he did very well in the following round, landing with a number of shots – the pick of the bunch being a straight right and a right over the top.
With Cano looking tired and appearing to have run out of ideas, Theophane continued to have some success but then had to absorb more heavy shots as his momentum slowed in the final couple of rounds.
One judge had Theophane winning the fight 96-94 but the other two scored it 98-92 and 97-93 in his opponent’s favour.