Dundee fighter Paul Kean Jr suffered defeat to rising star Hamzah Sheeraz as he was outclassed in his bid to land the WBO European super-welterweight title.
The southpaw was pulled out of the closed-door bout – televised live on BT Sport – by his corner at the end of round six.
Kean Jr, 27, was dominated by the 21-year-old, unbeaten in 11 fights and compared to Mexican superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez by former world cruiserweight and heavyweight king David Haye in the immediate aftermath.
The Londoner delivered a hugely impressive display on home soil, with the event held at BT’s studios in the UK capital.
Former kickboxing world champion Kean, now 12-2-0, admitted in the build-up that he was prepared for the toughest fight of his career.
The size of the task facing him became clear halfway through round one when, after a positive start on the back foot, he was floored by a perfectly-executed right hook from the defending champ.
The challenger rose to his feet, with his legs holding up well, but it was one-way traffic.
Sheeraz’s work to the body caught the eye in rounds two and three and the younger man couldn’t miss with the straight right to the head and left hook to the body.
Well played to Paul Kean's dad 👏
— Boxing on BT Sport 🥊 (@BTSportBoxing) July 10, 2020
Kean landed a brilliant right hook of his own in round four but his opponent responded with 40 seconds remaining, catching the Scot with yet another straight right up top before a left uppercut bloodied the nose of the visiting fighter.
He was caught with another ferocious left uppercut again in the fifth round as he struggled to put his stamp on his biggest scrap to date.
Kean – with just one stoppage on his record – couldn’t halt the Sheeraz attack and it was arguably the champion’s best round since the first.
The Dundonian looked to be feeling the pace in the sixth and continued to be caught with straight right hands to the head, with a switch to an orthodox stance, in an attempt to stem the tide, proving futile.
“It’s a hard decision to make,” said BT pundit and former WBC super-middleweight Richie Woodhall as Kean’s corner pulled their man out.
“He’s a brave kid but he was second best tonight.”
Sheeraz – who has now stopped his last five opponents – dedicated the win to his aunt who passed away from Covid-19 earlier this year.
He said: “Hopefully she’s looking down on me and is proud.”
Ringside analyst Woodhall praised Sheeraz, saying: “He’s got all the tools for the job. There’s no reason he can’t go on and fight for a world title.”
Haye added: “There isn’t anything he can’t do. Occasionally a young fighter comes along, like a Canelo Alvarez, and they’re just different.
“They have patience, calmness and balance. That’s about as punch-perfect as you can get from a ten-fight novice.”