Boxing: Burke sent packing by veteran Italian Zoff

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The Independent Online

The list of British boxers winning European titles in Italy remains relatively short after Liverpool's David Burke narrowly failed to win the lightweight version in Trieste.

Quality British boxers have suffered from outrageously biased decisions in shameful fights in the past but on Saturday night Burke lost a fair verdict in a fight that he will not enjoy watching again.

Burke, 28, relinquished his World Boxing Union light-weight title and travelled to Italy to meet the veteran Stefano Zoff knowing that a win would require something special.

Sadly, in the ring on Saturday night there were rounds when he fought like a foreigner not just in Italy but in the ring.

"It was not one of my better performances and I just couldn't get it right, but I am young and I know I can come back,'' a clearly dejected Burke said after the fight's weary conclusion.

For Zoff it was a win that at 37 he must surely have imagined was in doubt especially considering the fortunate way that he won the title. In January Zoff collected the meaningful championship belt at the scales when the champion Jason Cook, from Bridgend in Wales, was too heavy.

Cook was inconsolable but the fight against Zoff still went ahead and the Welshman won over 12 rounds, but Zoff left Bridgend that night with his lucky belt.

On Saturday night Burke had a very realistic chance to beat Zoff but his rally during the later rounds was simply not enough, and when the three officials at ringside delivered their verdict there were no screams of "fix" or cries of outrage.

What is truly amazing is that two of the three judges made Zoff only a one-point winner, but that is small consolation for Burke, who must know in his heart of hearts that he threw it away.