Only a split judges’ decision falling in his opponent’s favour stopped Sudbury Amateur Boxing Club’s Ryan Sumner from reaching the ABA national finals on Saturday.
The young fighter had gone into the born-1999 under-54kg contest with Southern Counties champion Jack Fenton at Merlins Entertainment Complex on the Isle of Sheppy with an unblemished record of six wins from six fights.
And head coach Neil Anderson said he could hold his head high after bowing out.
“Ryan has done very well to get so close in his first season with this being his first defeat,” he said. “A lot was learned from this bout, but in the end with such a slippery opponent his lack of experience was maybe the deciding factor.
“But this stands us in good stead for next season when he will have as much ring experience as his opponents.
“In his last three bouts, all of his opponents have had more than 20 bouts with Fenton having nearly 30.”
Sumner took to the centre from the off, trying to control the bout.
But Fenton was very awkward and kept tying him up everytime he tried to attack.
The referee warned him for holding, but he was stopping Sumner finding any rhythm and took a close first round.
In the second, the Suffolk boxer had some more success, but Fenton’s vast amounts of experience was proving difficult and his persistent holding led to the referee docking him a point.
This made Fenton a bit more wary and Sumner was able to take a close second round.
In the third Sumner had difficulties again, but did land more solid shots.
Fenton was very awkward and kept holding again and disrupting the flow of the bout and at the end of the third it was very close and could have gone either way.
After a long time checking the scores, a split decision was announced in favour of Fenton.