Loughran pays heavy price

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The Independent Online
Ireland's world champion Eamonn Loughran watched a fortune slip away in just about the time it takes the National Lottery balls to create another millionaire.

Loughran's Saturday night out in Liverpool turned into a nightmare in 51 seconds as the Mexican Jose Luis Lopez blasted away his World Boxing Organisation welterweight title. "It could have cost him a million dollars," his promoter, Barry Hearn, said.

Scottish viewers of ITV also felt short-changed when an advertising row denied them more extensive coverage of the other WBO title bout on the Everton Park Sports Centre bill, the light-flyweight return between South Africa's "Baby Jake" Matlala and Irvine's Paul Weir. ITV objected to advertising on Matlala's trunks and showed a mere 20 seconds of the fight, which Matlala won in the 10th round, making just over a minute of total action. The rest of the programme was filled with a re-run of the Sugar Ray Leonard- Tommy Hearns classic of 1981.

ITV spokesman Gary Newbon explained: "We have a clear policy about advertising on shorts. We decided not to show the fight - we didn't ask to put the fight on. We stuck to our principles."

It was another poor world title night for British boxing. Three champions have now been dethroned in a month, with Loughran following Nigel Benn and Frank Bruno.