Dennis McCann’s super-bantamweight contest against Ionut Baluta ended in a majority draw after an accidental clash of heads in round nine.
In a terrific all-action contest at London’s York Hall, McCann, 22, was cut on the forehead for a second time in the fight, with the referee halting the bout and going to the scorecards.
One judge scored it 86-85 to McCann with the other two judging it 86-86.
“It was a good fight. I thought I won by a round,” Briton McCann said.
Both fighters called for the rematch, with McCann – who had won all 14 of his previous pro fights, adding: “It wasn’t the best night in the office. It’s a draw. I’m very disappointed but it is what it is.”
Romania’s Baluta, 29, now has a draw on his record to go with 16 wins and four losses.
McCann knew his opponent well, having sparred hundreds of rounds together, and the Maidstone fighter started strongly by working behind the southpaw jab and landing at range.
In a back-and-forth third round, Baluta backed McCann on to the ropes with a barrage of left and right hooks before the home fighter fought back and landed a solid left hook.
Baluta – coming off a win in his last bout against previously undefeated Andrew Cain – tested McCann’s chin with a wild telegraphed swing that landed in the fifth, before a lead uppercut and chopping right rocked Baluta’s head back in the sixth.
After the first head clash opening a cut on McCann’s forehead in the seventh, he floored Baluta in the eighth with what appeared to be a counter uppercut but the referee ruled it a slip.
Baluta replied with a thunderous right – and with McCann hampered by his vision, the Romanian stepped on the gas and was well on top before the second clash of heads.
He protested to referee Marcus McDonnell, insisting he should be declared the winner rather than leaving it to the judges.
After a lengthy delay while the scorecards were tallied up, Baluta celebrated in the ring while a deflated McCann paced up and down.
The two fighters disagreed on the manner of the stoppage in the post-fight interview.
“I’ll have a rematch and next time I’ll win by knockout,” Baluta said.