Martin Murray’s world title dream ended in defeat with the St Helens fighter losing an agnosingly close judges decision.
Pride of St Helens Murray had been be hoping to secure a world belt at the fourth time of asking against Germany’s Arthur Abraham for the WBO super-middleweight title in Hannover.
But his dreams were shattered when he lost on a split decision to Abraham.
Murray, 32, gave it everything and took the established champion all the way in his bid to lift the WBO crown.
Many observers felt the scores of 115-112, 112-115 and 116-111 were harsh on Murray.
The opening two rounds were cagey affairs, with neither fighter wanting to be the first to come forward.
But in the third that all changed when the champion landed a hard left hook on Murray.
Abraham continued to pressure Murray to the point that halfway through the fight his trainer, Oliver Harrison, told him in no uncertain terms he had to step it up a gear.
It seems to work as Murray landed his best shot of the night in the eighth, an overhand right which sent Abraham tumbling on to the seat of his pants and sending the 1,000-strong travelling fans barmy.
Murray moved in to finish the fight but Abraham managed, somehow, to hold on, making it to the bell.
The ninth round was a similar story, with Murray’s relentless attack matched only by Abraham’s resolute defence.
And when Murray had a point docked in the 11th for holding it seemed like his fate was sealed.
It is the fourth title Murray has seen agonisingly slip from his grasp thanks to a point decision but he again showed his class and proved what a dangerous fighter he is.