Luton’s Kay Prosper was denied the English Super Lightweight title in controversial fashion at York Hall on Saturday night.
Prosper faced Sheffield’s big punching Sam O’Maison who signalled his intentions with a huge right hand in the first round, which shook his opponent.
However, Prosper took the shot and returned fire soon after, which led O’Maison to retreat and counter punch as Prosper picked his shots.
The former Hockwell Ring fighter let his hands go in the third and fourth, landing some rasping shots to the body of the Sheffield fighter, whose counter attack appeared to be just hitting gloves.
The fifth round was a war of attrition, both fighters landing nasty hooks to the body and crashing against the ropes to the roar of the crowd.
Prosper took a low blow, but the referee waved fight on and the two tangled again.
In round six the referee finally gave O’Maison a warning for two low blows, but these had finally taken their toll on his opponent.
The home stretch saw the Steel City fighter take the seventh round, but Prosper claimed the eighth, pinning him to the ropes and offloading not once but twice.
O’Maison looked to pile home the advantage as Prosper tired, but the Lutonian still threw punches in bunches to keep the fight even.
It was history repeating in the ninth as once more the Sheffield fighter landed a low blow and the referee gave yet another warning yet no point deduction.
It was testament to the Luton fighter’s conditioning and resilience that he took those shots and continued to throw counters until the final bell.
The judges ringside called the fight 95-95, 95-95 and 96-94 which meant a majority draw. As champion, O’Maison got to keep his belt, but knew he’d been in a fight and many ringside thought he seriously underestimated the technical and explosive skills of Luton’s super lightweight.
A disappointed Prosper said afterwards: “It wasn’t a robbery, he hit hard and caught me with one in the first, but then I bamboozled him a few times too.
“I know I tired in the last two but I controlled a lot of the fight and he was hitting gloves for much of it.
“I was surprised the referee didn’t deduct him a point for the low shots.
“One thing it has shown me is that I am more than capable of competing with fighters at that level.
“I just feel I’ve let the town down a bit by not taking the belt back home. I’m already talking to my coach and my manager about my next fight.
“Saturday just makes me more determined to go again and make the people of Luton proud.”