Bristol's Lee Haskins loses European title in Liege
LEE Haskins' dream of boxing for a world title has been put on hold after he lost his European bantamweight crown to Belgium's Stephane Jamoye in Liege on Friday night.
Making the first defence of the title he won last July, the Bristolian was halted in the eighth round after a furious scrap.
Fighting in front of his home town crowd, 23-year-old Jamoye raised the roof when stopping the champion with a thunderous body shot to lift the title and move within range of a world title shot in the New Year.
One win away from a major fight himself, Haskins will have to re-group after losing for the first time in 11 fights spanning five years.
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The former British and Commonwealth super-flyweight boss almost won a thrilling contest in the second round, putting Jamoye on the seat of his pants with a straight right that opened a cut on the Belgian's forehead.
Visibly hurt, Jamoye survived the round and the contest took a dramatic turn when Haskins received a nasty cut above his eye in the next session.
Fearing the referee might stop the fight, the champion threw caution to the wind as both men traded blows in the middle of the ring.
Haskins went down under a flurry of punches in the fifth, but was up after an eight count and launched a furious assault in the next session. Jamoye was out on his feet and was only saved by the bell.
Displaying strength of character and bravery, Jamoye came back with a vengeance in the seventh and sent Haskins to the canvas with a withering body shot.
When he served up a repeat prescription in the eighth round, Haskins went down once again and stayed down, relinquishing the championship belt he won when out-pointing fellow Briton Stuart Hall in Clevedon five months earlier.