The future of top Dispatch district boxer Shane McPhilbin is under a cloud after his much-trumpeted comeback ended in disaster.
McPhilbin (28) went into his Midland area heavyweight title fight last Saturday night aming to bring back the glory days.
But he left the ring with his reputation tarnished after he was disqualified as early as the fourth round for persistent fouling.
The popular McPhilbin was taking on 38-year-old veteran Paul Butlin in what was billed as a grudge match at the North Kesteven Leisure Centre in Lincolnshire.
As a former British cruiserwight champion, he was strongly fancied to overturn Butlin, who had lost 20 of his 35 professional fights.
And as usual, he was supported at the bout by a large band of fans.
But the fight descended into farce with hardly any boxing skills on show.
After a promising start in the opening round, McPhilbin had a point deducted in the second for hitting the back of his opponent’s head.
And then worse followed when referee Shaun Messer stopped the fight and disqualified the Bulwell boxer for hitting on the break.
This is a violation that occurs when the ref breaks apart boxers who are clinching, and one of them strikes his opponent, instead of taking a mandatory full step back.
McPhilbin was laying low and keeping quiet this week. But Carl Greaves, who is the manager of both boxers, and also the bout’s promoter, insisted there was no chance of a re-match.
“Who would be interested in seeing that again?” said Greaves.
“It just wasn’t boxing. Paul has rung me to apologise, but I’m still waiting to hear from Shane.
“I feel as if I’ve been let down because it was the main event, top of the bill.
“Obviously, they are both my boxers and I have to be careful what I say. But I can tell you I wasn’t happy.
“Shane boxed quite well in the first round, but sadly that was as good as it got.”
McPhilbin, nicknamed Mr Block, was hoping the shot at the vacant Midland title would help kick-start his career, which peaked in 2012 when he sensationally snatched the cruiserweight belt.
He insisted he was in good shape going into the contest with Butlin, which was given extra spice by a war of words between the two boxers on Twitter.
McPhilbin taunted Butlin with comments such as: “He is built like a natural heavyweight, but doesn’t hit like one. It’s his last chance at the end of a very poor career.”
However, Twitter bit back. Because McPhilbin not only had to cope with defeat but also with a barrage of criticism on the social media site from boxing fans about his tactics and his fitness.
“He needs to retire. He was in a terrible shape and not fit to box,” said one comment.
“A disgrace of a display,” read another, while one tweeter posted: “Doubt and hope we see him in the ring again.”
Some fans demanded their money back, while other tweets read:
“Did he think it was a WWE match at Wrestlemania?”
“He just didn’t want to fight. He should be banned from boxing”.
And ‘His supporters were just as bad. They just wanted a brawl”.
The defeat means McPhilbin has not now won a fight for more than two years. And it looks increasingly likely that he will concentrate most on his new role as a coach with his successful Team Block boxing academy, based in the Hucknall area.