Jamie Conlan suffered a heartbreaking defeat despite a gutsy effort in his IBF world super-flyweight title challenge against Filipino Jerwin Ancajas at the SSE Odyssey Arena.
Belfast native Conlan came into the bout hoping to upset the odds, having been priced as a big underdog by the bookmakers in advance of the bout.
The 31-year-old MTK Global-managed fighter had his brother and former amateur world champion Michael in his corner, alongside trainer Danny Vaughan, while he received a fantastic reception from the Belfast faithful.
However, classy southpaw Ancajas was just too good for the challenger, who suffered his first pro defeat in 20 professional bouts in his first world-title challenge and the chief-support bout to Carl Frampton’s ring return at the Odyssey.
Conlan was put down a number of times from heavy blows as well as a couple of low shots from the champion. The first knockdown came from a delayed reaction to a big punch in the opening round and Ancajas’ body shots were ruthless when subsequently dropping the challenger, resulting in four knockdowns in total.
Despite being warned for low blows in the fifth, Ancajas – extending his winning record to 28-1-1 – continued to hurt the gutsy Conlan, who somehow managed to rise to his feet after every knockdown as his hometown crowd cheered on his determined effort.
Referee Steve Gray called a halt after 52 seconds of the sixth round to end Conlan’s world-title dream, although the Falls Road warrior will surely be keen to rebuild once he recovers from this devastating defeat.