Brave McIntosh loses European crown

Norwich fighter Danny McIntosh's brave bid to defend his European light-heavyweight title ended in an eight round stoppage to Eduard Gutknecht in Germany over the weekend.

The 31-year-old was forced on the defensive for long spells by the German national champion's greater work rate before a nasty eye injury late in the fight convinced the referee to step in midway through the eighth round.

McIntosh was making the first voluntary defence of his belt against the Kazak-born fighter in his adopted homeland after dramatically halting Frenchman Thierry Karl back in January to snatch the vacant title.

McIntosh was on the back foot in the opening round when a sharp combination from Gutknecht forced the Sheffield-trained fighter to cover up against the ropes as the bell sounded to end the opening session. The challenger came into the contest with an impressive professional record that included only one defeat on points early last year to WBO super-middleweight champion Robert Stieglitz.

Gutknecht kept up a ferocious pace in the second round with McIntosh forced to cover up before trying to catch him with right hands over the top. In round four McIntosh suffered a cut to his right cheekbone and was also seeping blood from his nose with the challenger's work rate now forcing McIntosh to fight at an uncomfortable pace.

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A well-timed right from McIntosh briefly forced Guknecht backwards in round five but a huge left hook from the Kazak fighter almost put McIntosh on the canvass in the sixth.

Gutknecht was quick to pounce and a follow-up burst had the still shaken McIntosh reeling against the ropes and perilously close to being stopped. McIntosh responded with a late flurry of punches as the challenger tired after a ferocious onslaught at the start of the round. McIntosh's grip on his European crown loosened again when he was deducted a point by Italian referee Giuseppe Quartarone for a low blow in the seventh. McIntosh's right eye was closing up by the end of the round with Gutknecht's pinpoint jab now getting through McIntosh's defence.

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McIntosh made a last-ditch attempt to cling onto his title at the start of the eighth with a concerted attack but Gutknecht maintained a tight defence before a punishing combination forced the Italian official to finally intervene to halt the bout with McIntosh in danger of going down.

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