Brave Brian Rose suffered the sixth defeat of his career in a thrilling 10-round bout against Anthony Fowler in Liverpool.
The 34-year-old put up a spirited effort against the younger, busier Fowler, who claimed the win via unanimous points decision.
Rose (31-6-1) will now have a decision to make on whether or not to continue with his career, although post-fight he refused to make a rash decision.
The Blackpool fighter enjoyed limited success behind his jab but the shots he did land were few and far between compared to the sheer volume of punches coming from his opponent.
Rose did, however, show a great chin, refusing to give in even when Fowler was landing on a regular basis.
The bout ended up going to the scorecards, with two judges scoring it 98-92 in favour of Fowler and the final judge scoring it 97-93, also the Liverpudlian’s way.
Fowler, who edged a number of close rounds, also took home the WBO Inter-Continental middleweight title.
Speaking post-fight, Rose said: “I can’t sit here and make a decision, it would be wrong for me to do that.
“I felt second to everything at times, I was beaten to the jab which I’m not used to.
“I don’t know if that’s because I’m too old, I don’t know, but I’m not going to make any rash decisions now.”
For Fowler, it was a victorious return to the ring have lost his unbeaten streak in his last bout against Preston’s Scott Fitzgerald.
The 28-year-old said: “I could have had an easier fight in my comeback fight so I knew the pressure was on.
“I have so much respect for Brian. I have no experience but thankfully I have a coach who told me what to do.
“Thank god I got the win, but give Brian his due. I thought before the fight he had had his day, but he showed me a lot I didn’t expect.
“I know it’s none of my business but I hope Brian carries on. He’s got a new hunger, I can see it.”