Plans for Perth boxer Robbie Bryant to fight for a world title in 2013 were surely ended on Sunday night as the middleweight suffered a one-sided points defeat to Queensland-based Jarrod Fletcher.
Former Commonwealth Games champion Fletcher reclaimed Bryant's regional Pan Asian title with a 117-111, 118-109, 119-109 decision at the WA Italian Club.
Bryant went into the bout ranked No7 by the World Boxing Association and his promoter-manager Ty Colman had been in negotiations for the NZ-born 33-year-old to fight for the vacant WBA interim title last month.
But against Fletcher, despite coming to fight, Bryant looked a long way off being a world title challenger as he struggled to get inside the bigger man's accurate left jab and deal with his impressive speed and footwork.
Only occasionally was Bryant able to find reward for his undeniable effort, most notably near the end of the sixth round when a left hook saw Fletcher's legs wobble. But the bell came at a good time for Fletcher and he stretched his advantage over the final rounds to run out a deserved winner.
To put the result into greater perspective for Bryant, Fletcher was coming off a second round stoppage loss to Commonwealth champion Billy Joe Saunders in London three months ago.
There was better new for Daniel Dawson, who stopped Eusebio Baluarte in the fourth round to defend his PABA light-middleweight title.
Dawson looked in fantastic condition and was way too good for an opponent whose tactic of holding up his arms and inviting the West Australian to attack his body was ridiculous.
Dawson indeed tagged his man at the end of the first round, a left hook into the ribs leaving Baluarte openly rubbing his side.
The Filipino's only hope looked to be a wild right hand but Dawson, ranked No12 by the WBA before the fight, sensibly kept his hands high before cracking home further body shots which saw the challenger go down three times in round four to trigger an automatic stoppage.
Annoyingly, the clownish behaviour of Baluarte didn't stop at the final bell. As soon as the fight was called off he jumped straight to his feet and then found the energy to lift Dawson around the ring.
Another winner was unbeaten Sydney super-featherweight Paul Fleming, who overcame a flash knockdown in the first round to take an exciting eight-rounder over a much more impressive Filipino in Baleeg Bangoyan, 79-73, 78-73, 78-73.
Fleming, who has been signed by US promoters Top Rank, is now 17-0.The two other fights on the card saw Perth light-middleweight Sam Hogan make it two wins from two with a third round defeat of Michael Dan, while Irish debutant Jono Carroll took a unanimous points win over Matthew Seden in a four-rounder.
Do the Eagles get away with ducking when tackled?Vote
Do you have a story for us to investigate?
'The West Australian' is a trademark of West Australian Newspapers Limited 2013.
All rights reserved.
Select your state to see news for your area.