Dennis McCann’s super-bantamweight fight with Ionut Baluta ended in a majority draw due to a head clash in round nine.
At London’s York Hall, the intense contest led to McCann, 22, getting cut on the forehead for the second time, prompting the referee to stop the bout and go to the scorecards.
One judge scored it 86-85 in favour of McCann, while the other two judges scored it 86-86, resulting in a draw.
McCann, who had previously won all 14 of his professional fights, expressed disappointment, feeling he should have won by a narrow margin. Both fighters called for a rematch.
Romania’s Baluta, 29, now holds a draw on his record alongside 16 wins and four losses.
McCann’s familiarity with his opponent, stemming from hundreds of rounds of sparring, translated into a strong start. He used a southpaw jab to his advantage and controlled the range.
In the third round, the action swung back and forth, with Baluta pinning McCann to the ropes with a flurry of hooks, countered by a solid left hook from McCann.
Baluta, fresh off a win against undefeated Andrew Cain, tested McCann’s chin with a wild swing in the fifth. McCann responded in the sixth with a lead uppercut and a chopping right.
An accidental head clash in the seventh opened a cut on McCann’s forehead. In the eighth, McCann seemingly landed a counter uppercut that floored Baluta, though the referee ruled it a slip. Baluta retaliated with a powerful right, gaining an advantage before the second head clash.
Baluta protested to the referee, hoping for a victory declaration rather than a decision from the judges. After the scorecards were calculated, Baluta celebrated, while McCann appeared disheartened.
In the post-fight interview, the two fighters disagreed on the stoppage’s timing. Baluta expressed confidence in a rematch, vowing to win by knockout next time.