End of the Lynes as Whitechapel ace suffers cruel defeat
Colin Lynes was denied the most prestigious win of his career in Paris after a split-decision defeat in his European title clash with Souleymane M'Baye
By LEN WHALEY
Colin Lynes was cruelly denied the most prestigious win of his career in Paris on Friday after a split-decision defeat in his European light-welterweight title clash with France's former WBA champ Souleymane M'Baye.
Whitechapel-born Lynes had gambled by stepping in for the contest as a last-minute substitute for Irishman Paul McCloskey, who was forced to withdraw from the fight for the vacant belt.
But former European title-holder Lynes saw a controversial majority verdict hand victory to Paris native M'Baye in an outcome that brought back memories of a similar split-decision loss 14 months ago.
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The East Londoner's reign as Euro-pean champion came to an end in Milan last year when the judges favoured local hero Gianluca Branco, despite most ringsiders backing Lynes as a comfortable winner against the Italian.
The 31-year-old hoped he would get a fairer deal in France on this occasion, but once again Lynes insisted he had been the victim of a 'hometown' decision from the judges at the Marcel Cerdan Stadium.
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He said: "I thought, 'Here we go again' when they announced the decision. I had no doubt I'd done enough to win - but just as in Italy, I had to stand there and watch the referee raise the other guy's at the final bell."
Boxing for the first time since losing his British title to original challenger McCloskey, Lynes showed no sign of ring rust and landed solid scoring shots to head and body.
The crowd were silenced as the Paris favourite was forced to retreat under the former European title-holder's pressure-punching.
M'Baye seemed reluctant to throw punches and his most damaging reply was a head butt in the eighth round that saw the French fighter docked a point.
Both fighters felt the pace in the late rounds but at the final bell M'Baye was awarded a shock verdict - a decision that even the French ringsiders questioned.
Lynes could now opt to retire, though the 11-year veteran still hopes that his two narrow European defeats could earn another title shot.
"After losing on a split verdict in his hometown, I should be in the mix for future title contests - I only hope I'll get a better deal next time," Lynes said.