Nigeria's Larry Ekundayo on Saturday night (July 8) suffered his first defeat of his professional career out of 13 fights which dashed his hope of becoming the WBO Inter-Continental welterweight champion at least for now.
The former Prizefighter champion after the superb 12-round vacant WBO Inter-Continental title bout decided at Copper Box Arena, London, sensationally lost to Gary Corcoran the 'Hellraiser' by split decision.
The judges scored the bout 115-113, 114-113, 113-114 in favour of the home boy who raised his fight record to 17 wins with one loss.
After a scrappy opening exchanges, Ekundayo proved more than capable of fighting in the trenches, giving as good as he got in a heated fifth stanza.
By the seventh round, the two gladiators were exchanging vicious body punches mixed with short hooks to the head as they tried to establish supremacy and Corcoran suffered a cut above his left eye during the eighth round.
As the Nigerian fondly called the 'Natural' was pressed to a corner in the ninth, a combination of short counter hooks hurt Corcoran badly.
Two left hooks from Ekundayo to start the tenth again hurt Corcoran and a further left hook almost floored him in a terrific tenth and by the championship rounds a grotesque swelling had developed over Ekundayo’s right eye.
After a fittingly brutal final round Corcoran was judged the split winner in a fight where both men come away with reputations enhanced.
An exasperated Ekundayo now with (12-1) record after the defeat said: "I'm gutted but alive and well".
Caption: Nigeria's Larry Ekundayo, beaten for the first time in the ring.