South Africa’s Lerato “Lights Out” Dlamini put in a brave effort in a clash for the vacant IBO featherweight belt in a closely fought encounter against James “Jazza” Dickens on Saturday night at the Eventim Olympia in Liverpool, where Dickens claimed the belt on a 12-round unanimous points decision.
Judge Howard Foster scored it 115-113 and judges Per Kjerulf Hansen and Mikael Hook had it 116-112 and 115-113.
There was little in it in the opening round and through rounds two and three, but in the fourth round the fighters stood in the middle of the ring fighting toe-to-toe, with Dlamini (56.79kg) just edging it.
The action continued in round five, with the southpaw Dickens (56.75kg) taking the round but Dlamini came back to shade the sixth round.
The fast action continued as the South African pushed forward despite swelling under his right eye.
Rather strangely, Dlamini dropped to his knees on a few occasions during the fight as Dickens came on strongly in rounds eight and nine, but he took his foot off the pedal in the 10th.
Dlamini made a strong finish in the last two rounds but that was not enough in the eyes of the judges as the home fighter Dickens took the decision and won a world title on his third attempt.
Dickens improved his record to 32-4; 12 and Dlamini’s record dropped to 18-2; 10.