A STRONG performance for Wade Ryan was not enough to see the Gunnedah native successfully defend his Oceanic-Pacific Australia Boxing middleweight championship on Saturday night.
Taking on Eamon Carlos, Ryan's first title defence went the distance before going down to a judges' decision, which resulted in Carlos walking away the winner.
The Black 'N' Blue Boxing member was on the cusp of victory on several occasions but was unable to land the final blow, resulting in the bout lasting a full 10 rounds.
Several Australian boxing pundits praised the fight's quality, commentator Barry Michael labelling the match a candidate for the fight of the year.
Ryan's coach David Syphers told the Namoi Valley Independent he was proud of his protege's efforts but disappointed with the result.
"It was a really good fight and Wade was very close to knocking Carlos out three or four times," Syphers said.
"However, Carlos is a really tough bloke and I can honestly say I don't think too many other guys could have stood up to Wade the way he did.
"I personally thought Wade had done enough to get the win, but the judges didn't see it that way - that's just the way boxing goes sometimes."
Syphers said the Melbourne crowd gave Carlos an advantage during the fight.
"I think it always helps to have your home crowd behind you," he said.
"I certainly think it helped Carlos and I reckon if Wade was to always fight in Gunnedah, he'd win most of his fights as well."
The middleweight will now look to an upcoming fight night in Gunnedah later in the year.
"Fighting away from home is certainly something we are going to focus on going forward," Syphers said.
"But in the meantime, we will focus on hosting an event here in Gunnedah and enjoying the occasion some time later in the year."
Despite the loss, Ryan still sits number four in Australia and has Syphers full of confidence he can "bounce back".
"Wade is a little bit disappointed because he feels as though he should have won the fight," he said.
"Other than that, he has physically bounced back really well and wasn't too badly beat up.
"Mentally, I think he is also feeling pretty good because he gave it everything he had."
Leading into the fight, Ryan had a goal to "make every punch count" against his taller opponent.
"I really think Wade did everything he set out to in terms of his plan leading into the fight," Syphers said.
"I think he will take a lot out of his performance going forward."