Dereck Chisora's career received a major setback after he suffered a points defeat to European heavyweight champion Agit Kabayel in Monaco.
The German champion frustrated Chisora with his jab and nimble footwork as he retained his European title with scores of 115-113 and 115-114 to earn a majority decision, with the third judge scoring it a 114-114 draw.
Chisora, who was without regular trainer Don Charles in the corner, cut a frustrated figure as he continually walked into right hands and uppercuts while suffering a loss which harmed his hopes of another major fight.
'Del Boy' immediately started on the front foot, but the champion, boxed well in reverse, answering with hooks and jabs of his own to edge the opening session.
Both fighters fought at close-quarters in the second, with Kabayel finding a home with a neat uppercut and double-jab as the Finchley fighter struggled to find any rhythm to his work.
Chisora started the third in more positive fashion though, landing a right uppercut followed by a clubbing right hand. Kabayel had success with the same shot of his own, but the continual pressure from 'Del Boy' in the pocket and a left hook gave the Brit a brief foothold in the contest.
However, Kabayel stamped his authority on the fight from then on, catching Chisora with a cluster of punches in the fourth and fifth as the British fighter pressed forward in vain.
A Muhammad Ali-style shuffle illustrated Kabayel's growing confidence in the middle rounds as he continued to dictate the fight with the jab in the sixth.
Sharp right hands from the German in the seventh, accurate jabs in the eighth, and a left hook to the body in the ninth further highlighted Kabayel's cleaner work.
Chisora, sensing that the fight was slipping away from him, started to pile on the pressure in the closing rounds and had the better of the 11th and 12th, but the fight had slipped away from him.