Carl Frampton has called time on his brilliant boxing career after his bid to become a three-weight world champion was halted by Jamel Herring on Saturday night.
The 34-year-old was stopped in the sixth round when the towel was thrown after Frampton had already been knocked down twice by the American.
Going for the WBO super-featherweight belt, the Northern Irishman dedicated the fight to former trainer Billy McKee who passed away in February and said, “I’m deeply upset. I said I’d retire if I lost this fight and that’s what I’ll do.
"I said it beforehand, I wanted to win this fight and I was fully confident, but it wasn't to be.
"It was weird, I sparred brilliantly in the camp and I was really, really up for it and was full of confidence coming in but I couldn't get past his jab. It wasn't an overly fast jab or anything, I think a few years ago my reactions may have been a bit better.
"Herring was good on the inside as well, keeping it long, sharp-shooting. I was disappointed how it ended, to throw the towel in, but I think it was probably the right decision. I'd have fought until I was carried out probably, I didn't know how bad it was looking towards the end but I would have always kept fighting."
Gracious in defeat, he conceded, “I got beaten by the better man, I struggled to get inside him. Perfect game-plan. Zero excuses. I had an amazing camp, I was just beaten by the better man tonight.
"It is what it is, credit to him and he is a really nice guy. His team are good people too and I've nothing but respect for them. I hope he goes on and makes a few more defences.
"I'm done now. I want to be involved in big fights, I don't want to be involved for small titles or to try and work myself into a position now,” Frampton added as the curtain came down on a glittering career.
Speaking to iFL TV of his decision to retire, Frampton revealed, "It was all about boxing but now I am looking forward to dedicating the rest of my life to my wife and kids, reaping the rewards of the sacrifices that we have all made.
"Boxing, it changed recently. I can't wait to see my wife and kids. Boxing has been very good to me but it has been bad too. I have missed so much of my kids growing up. I've missed important things as well that I shouldn't have missed."
His partner Christine tweeted, “Wanted him out a long time ago. Thanks everyone. We love you all.”
Looking back, Frampton, a former super-bantamweight and featherweight champion, said, "If you asked me at the start of my pro career, I would never have imagined doing what I have done," he said.
"I owe boxing a lot, and this part of my career has been good even if I have lost a few times. I enjoyed it. I'm proud of my career and proud of what I have done, but realistically there is probably no way for me to win a world title again.
"I wanted to go one step further and become a three-weight world champion, but it wasn't to be."
It wasn’t, but Carl Frampton, what a champion.