This fight was bitter and nasty in the lead-up and all the way to the final bell.
But Issac Hardman showed humility as the loser and gave a classy gesture to his opponent Michael Zerafa.
Zerafa became the world No.2 IBF middleweight contender, and will have a date with world No.1 Esquiva Falcao for the title.
AS IT HAPPENED: Zerafa stuns Hardman; Aussie wins world title in co-main event
Hardman was contrite post-fight and paid tribute to Zerafa, despite their festering feud.
He also claimed he wants to see his fellow Aussie bring a belt back Down Under.
“He just got me. Plain and simple,” Hardman said after being pulverised in the second round.
“I had the best training camp, I’m not going to stand here and make excuses. Mick got me.
“That’s boxing at the end of the day. You win some, you lose some. You win well, and you lose well – I’m going to lose well.
“I hope he goes and gets that IBF world title, that’s what it’s about.”
Hardman and Zerafa are not on friendly terms, as much as they shared an embrace after the bout on Wednesday night.
Hardman had called Zerafa a “coward” for pulling out of a fight with Tim Tszyu last year. Zerafa accused his opponent of being racist at their weigh-in on Tuesday, which resulted in a wild brawl which took several people to split up.
Even after the referee stopped the fight, Zerafa got in Hardman’s face and screamed uncontrollably, then burst into tears as his team tried to calm him down.
“There was a lot of beef – social media is a crazy place, you can say a lot of things and get away with a lot of things. At the end of the day we got in her and he punched my head in, the fleabag punched my head in, and I lost,” Hardman said.
“I’m 25 years old, I’m 12 and one now, I’ll keep boxing until I’m 33, I’ll win a world title one day.
“He beat me tonight, the fleabag punched my head in. Good on him.”
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