Ryno Liebenberg has described as heartbreaking his controversial sixth-round technical knockout defeat to German Vincent Feigenbutz in Ludwigsburg near Stuttgart at the weekend.
Punishing the IBF Intercontinental super-middleweight champion on his home turf‚ Liebenberg knew he was destined to win after realising his opponent could not hurt him.
Liebenberg suffered a cut on the head in the fifth round‚ which he believes was caused by a clash of heads‚ but he insists it did not impair his vision.
The South African brawler‚ who bleeds as easily as he fights‚ was well on top when the referee‚ without consulting the ringside doctor‚ waved the fight over in a decision that many felt saved the hometown boy from a looming stoppage defeat.
Liebenberg said on Facebook afterwards he was feeling strong in the sixth round. "Ref stops us just after I get to him [Feigenbutz]… checks my cut‚ I tell him ‘It’s nothing’. He says ‘It’s deep’. I say ‘Where’s the doctor?’." The referee suddenly signalled it was over.
"Devastating! I couldn’t believe what happened… WTF! Where is the doctor? Surely it can’t be that bad? I lose on a TKO [technical knockout] — a fight I had in my pocket.
"In my life I’ve always been a realist‚ but getting done in like this‚ it’s heartbreaking," he said.
"I give up so much of my life for this sport‚ boxing‚ that I love and every time I’m in the ring it makes it worth every second."