Anthony Crolla failed to recapture the WBA lightweight title after being outclassed by Jorge Linares in Manchester. The Venezuelan followed up his victory last September with an emphatic points win, as all three judges scored the bout 118-109 in the favour of 'The Golden Boy'.
Corolla suffered a rib injury in the fourth round and was put on the canvass in the seventh during a gruelling evening for the Manchester fighter. Trainer Joe Gallagher wanted to withdraw the Briton prior to the 12th and final round, but the 30-year-old lasted until the final bell despite being overwhelmed for long periods.
"I'm gutted," he told Sky Sports "I genuinely gave it everything but it wasn't enough. I lost to the better man tonight. His movement was very good, his variety too. He came back better [from the first fight] in most departments.
"After he put me over, he threw a lot of shots but I covered them. I thought I came back pretty well, I wouldn't have minded that round going on a bit longer. The bell was better for him than me.
"I went the distance, although I won't take any more comfort from that. It's not nice losing. I never celebrate losing. But, maybe in a few years, I'll look back and realise I shared the ring with a three-weight world champion."
Linares meanwhile wants to unify the lightweight division and is targeting a clash with WBC champion Mikey Garcia. The Ring Magazine champion now has 42 wins from 45 fights, having prevailed in each of his last 11 bouts.