Boxing star Ian Napa has vowed to bounce back after losing the European bantamweight title in a punishing showdown with Malik Bouziane.
The Hackney hitter struggled through 12 rounds against the French upstart, who used his height and rangy style to build up a huge lead by the halfway point.
Two of the three officials at the Newham Leisure Centre handed the match to Bouziane by convincing margins of 118-110 and 117-111.
Speaking after the fight, which he had hoped would be a stepping stone to a world title, ‘Dappa’ said his opponent won the battle “fair and square”.
“I think I was too intent on going to the body more than boxing,” he said. “I felt really good in the gym but I think I might have over-trained. There’s no excuses though – he won the fight fair and square. I thought he’d slow down but he never did.”
But Napa is determined to bounce back and insists that at 31 he still has plenty of fuel in the tank. Asked whether he will return, he said: “Oh yes, certainly. I got beaten by a guy that had a better style on the day.”
It is not the first time Napa’s career has suffered a setback. He endured a run of three defeats in four fights before setting out on a knockout journey that led him to the British title in July 2006 and the European belt in October 2008.