Lee Mould was beaten tonight in his challenge for the vacant English welterweight title in Blackpool by Adam Little.
The Sunderland boxer gave everything at the Hilton Hotel but had to concede second best to home favourite Little.
Little won on the scorecards of all three judges scorecards at a packed Hilton Hotel, Phil Edwards marking it 98-93, Dave Parris 97-94 and Steve Gray 99-92.
It proved one of the fights of the year as the title rivals, who both went into the contest with unbeaten records, slugged it out non-stop for 10 action-acked rounds.
Little was noted for his jab and that punch was evident in the first two rounds and his right caught the eye too, not to mention the head of the South Shields-trained opponent.
Mould had been too easy to hit in the opening two rounds but Mould began to compete better in rounds three and four, forcing the 24-year-old back on the ropes for long periods.
Those two rounds were tricky to score but not the fifth as Mould forced Little back with some good work to the body.
Alas, Little was back on song in the sixth, landing to the head of the Mal Gates fighter with both hands.
To his credit, Mould came back strongly to take the seventh, pressing Little on the ropes with some good body punching.
Round eight proved a real trench war, with both fighters going at it hammer and tong, Mould getting through to the body with Little responding to the head.
The ninth was arguably the round of the night, following a similar pattern to the previous three minutes.
Mould needed to win it but Little had the edge and he did the sharper worker in the 10th too.
But there was no disgrace for the “Mackem Mexican” who gave it his all.
This reporter had Little 98-94 up, but there were no losers after a fight like this, the boxers or the sell-out crowd.
A re-match would be well worth watching.