Peterborough puncher Cello Renda suffered heartbreak in the final of ‘Prizefighter’ in Blackpool last night (February 14).
Renda was beaten by Tom Doran from Connahs Quay in a dramatic final at the Winter Gardens.
Going into the last round of the final, the fight - and the £32,000 prize - appeared to be up for grabs.
For most ringsiders, Renda won the opening round clearly enough - and Doran landed enough jabs to level the scores.
Midway through the final session, Renda ran onto a short, scything left hook that dropped him on his knees.
He was up at the count of ‘nine,’ but the referee decided he wasn’t able to continue and waved the fight off.
Renda, also a beaten finalist in ‘Prizefighter’ way back in November, 2008, picked up a £16,000 pay day for reaching the final with wins over Liam Conroy and Jack Arnfield.
He opened the tournament in front of the Sky Sports cameras by racing to a 100-second win over Conroy, from Barrow-in-Furness.
Conroy simply couldn’t take Renda’s power and every time he connected, the 22 year-old ended up on the floor.
Renda blasted him to the canvas three times and was unloading on Conroy again when the referee jumped in.
His semi-final against local ticket-seller Jack Arnfield promised to be tougher.
Arnfield went into the fight unbeaten in 17 outings after shading a close points win over Mick Hall in the quarter finals - and his clash with Renda was also close.
Arnfield appeared to win the opening round clearly enough behind his jab, but with a place in the final up for grabs, Renda tore into him in the last two rounds and threw non-stop punches.
Sky Sports punch stats recorded him throwing 303 punches throughout the fight - and enough landed for him to grab the split points decision.
Arnfield, who was backed by around 300 supporters, admitted afterwards: “I couldn’t keep him off me. The better man won.”
That set up the final against Doran, who had jabbed his way to wins over Birmingham southpaw Craig Cunningham and Luke Keeler, the fancied Dubliner who had Irish legend Steve Collins in his corner.