Henry Wharton had no excuses for an effort which saved the European super- middleweight title but left a question mark over his world championship credentials.
Wharton stared defeat in the face when he was knocked down for the first time ever after three rounds against Vincenzo Nard-iello - a late substitute for No 1 contender Frederic Seillier - in Halifax on Saturday night.
A jolting left hook - his own trademark punch - and the subsequent eight count underlined the ease with which the Italian southpaw had pounded him. But there has never been any doubt about Wharton's heart.
Without imposing himself totally, the 28-year-old Yorkshireman did enough to turn the tide and transform a nick on Nardiello's right eye into an ugly, two-inch gash.
Referee Roger Kreitz, of Luxembourg, asked for a doctor's inspection, which confirmed the severity of the injury, and the fight was stopped after 52 seconds of the sixth round.
Wharton said: "If you let someone hit you on the chin, you will get knocked down. It was embarrassing. I will just have to take it like a man. "It's now time for a rest, not so much from the fighting but from all the work in the gym."
n The Argentinian Juan Martin Coggi won back the World Association junior welterweight title when he could not go on after an accidental headbutt in the fifth round of his fight with Frankie Randall.Reuse content