HIS face disfigured by stitches and a massive black eye, Edinburgh boxer Kenny Anderson was still uttering defiance hours after his challenge for the Commonwealth super-middleweight title ended in failure at the hands of champion George Groves in Manchester on Saturday.
Both Anderson and Groves deserve huge credit for their courageous performances on a night when a much, much wealthier individual, Audley Harrison, shamed British boxing with his abject display against WBA heavyweight champion David Haye.
An accidental head butt in the second round opened a huge cut underneath Anderson's left eye in the second but he came back fighting and almost stopped the 22-year-old Londoner in the third.
Groves got off the canvas however, and pounced as Anderson, by his own admission, was taking a breather in the sixth. Referee Dave Parris called it off after the Scot took a series of unanswered punches to the head. Anderson protested that the stoppage had been too quick, but television replays showed what the referee had seen - that Anderson's guard had dropped and Groves was aiming at an undefended target.
The 2006 Commonwealth Games gold medallist thus suffered his first defeat in the pro ranks in a fight which he took at a fortnight's notice, a decision which he described as a "calculated risk". He said: "I had no other choice," said Anderson. "I have been in no man's land with people dodging me and I wasn't getting any fights or money, so you have to take them. I would have a rematch with him no problem, and I am up in the mix and people know my name now and realise that I am good enough."
Anderson's promoter, Ricky Hatton, the former world champion, has promised that he will keep the fighter busy. lManny Pacquiao claimed the vacant WBC super welterweight title with an unanimous points victory over Antonio Margarito at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. The 31-year-old dominated his Mexican opponent to land an eighth world title in an unprecedented eight weight class.