TROWBRIDGE'S Nick Blackwell suffered a third professional defeat in the Ukraine tonight after going down to a controversial points loss in his WBA Continental clash with home fighter Max Bursak.
'Bang Bang' Blackwell, 22, came out on the wrong side of the verdict in Kharkiv despite another hugely commendable performance against the current EBU European title holder at the Sportpalace Lokomotiv arena.
The Wiltshire man, who flew out to the fight with merely Contender Gym trainer Mark Kent, Bradford on Avon welterweight Gareth Heard and manager PJ Rowson for company, stunned the home crowd by flooring Bursak with a superb right-handed punch in the fourth round.
The Ukraine fighter, ranked as high as five in the world by several boxing organisations, was industrious throughout but rarely had Blackwell in any sort of trouble - and was the one nursing the scars of battle at the end, with two heavily puffed-up eyes.
Tw-time British title challenger Blackwell meanwhile, looked strong throughout and was more than a match for his much-fancied opponent.
The judges though scored the fight in the home fighter's favour and Blackwell may not turn his attention to a third attempt at the British crown.
He is being lined up for an elimination contest for the British middleweight title before the end of the year.
British Boxing chiefs have also named the Trowbridge man in a final eliminator for the domestic crown against Chris Eubank Jnr, 23.
The BBBoC have put the contest out to purse bids, the deadline for which is October 9, with the contest expected to take place before the end of December, although the Blackwell camp have their doubts over whether Eubank will take the fight.
REACTION FROM THE BLACKWELL CAMP AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT THIS WEEK AND IN FRIDAY'S WILTSHIRE TIMES