Shayne Singleton felt a huge sense of injustice after being out-pointed by Peter McDonagh at the Manchester Arena and is calling for a rematch against the Irishman.
While the 28-year-old was admittedly below par against the “Connemara Man” he felt that he’d done more than enough to get the nod from referee John Latham after 10 rounds.
The former Sandygate amateur, with a marked left eye and a chipped front tooth, cut a frustrated figure backstage after losing out by two rounds.
Even Tyson Fury’s confession that the contest should have been scored a draw failed to quell Singleton’s mood as numerous officials continued to walk by and console the Pendle pugilist.
The former IBF, WBA, WBO, IBO and lineal heavyweight champion, who beat long-reigning world ruler Wladimir Klitschko in 2015, approached Singleton outside his dressing room, praising his performance.
“It’s a disgrace,” said Singleton. “I’ve always said in this sport that it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Peter McDonagh knows a hell of a lot of people and that’s worked in his favour.
“I was never troubled at all. I didn’t feel anywhere near my best but I felt that I should’ve come out of there the winner.
“If Tyson Fury, whose camp he has been in, he’s been training with Peter Fury, if he comes over and tells me that he thought it was a draw then I won the fight.
“He won’t come over and admit that his fighter has lost. The best thing he could’ve said was that it was a draw and that’s what he’s said.
“I believe the referee could’ve given a few rounds even but I don’t think he did enough to win it by two rounds.”
Singleton was the more eye-catching of the two, landing the cleaner and crisper shots throughout, but was worn down by a game and tenacious opponent.
The “Cinderella Man”, who continued the fairytale flourish to his career with a ninth win in succession, struggled to work behind his jab in the opening stanza as Singleton dominated from the three-quarter range. That prompted a change of ploy from his corner, with McDonagh slowing down the pace and closing the gap, but Singleton continued to put his shots together well.
The re-invented home fighter had fought on the back foot for many of his previous triumphs, but was the aggressor on this occasion as he attempted to out-hustle Singleton and ruffle his feathers.
However, the former English champion and one-time British title challenger kept a cool head, adopting a patient approach and picking his shots appropriately.
The halfway point brought Singleton’s best piece of work when a clean right hook had the juices flowing, and 15 unanswered shots followed with McDonagh forced to grit his teeth while pinned to the ropes.
Those flurries had been hard to come by as McDonagh cut the ring off and smothered Singleton while landing a couple of scoring right hands of his own.
Singleton, fighting for only the second time at super-welterweight, refused to touch gloves at the beginning of the 10th and final round, a manifestation of the disrespect shown by McDonagh at the weigh in.
Both fighters went for the big finish though it was Singleton that secured the highlight of the round with a stunning uppercut.
That, though, was seemingly inadequate as the bout was scored 96-94 in McDonagh’s favour.
“I kept asking ‘how am I doing’ and they said ‘you’re up’,” Singleton said. “Not at any point in that fight was I told that I was behind.
“They said keep doing what you’re doing, you’re up, keep your cool, don’t get involved in a fight, box and move, tie him up and that’s what we did all the way through.
“I kept listening to them. When I went in to the corner ahead of the 10th round they said that I was well up, don’t do anything daft, just go out and box.
“If I believed that I was down on the scorecards, or if Karl had told me that I was down on the scorecards, I would’ve gone out, put it all on the line and tried to stop him. But I went out, got on the move and carried on doing what I’d been doing throughout the fight when I believed that I was up on the cards.”
He added: “I’m absolutely devastated and I’ve fallen out of love with the sport again. It’s a joke so I’ve got to go and think about things.
“Obviously I want to fight him again, get back on winning terms against Peter. He was saying ‘let’s have a rematch’. I can’t stand the man, I didn’t want to shake his hand, I didn’t want to speak to him because he disrespected me in the weigh in by putting his hands on me.
“I would gladly have a rematch but I want it on even grounds and I want it for a title. I don’t know how he’s won it by two rounds but if that’s how the ref has scored it then it must’ve been a pretty close fight.
“If that’s the case let’s get a title on the line for a rematch. Then we’ll see what happens.
“Whether they take it or not, I don’t know, but I’d love to get back in there and have a rematch with him. This has disheartened me. My heart has been ripped out.”