Tony Bellew gave it his best shot but, in the end, he was beaten by a better fighter in Oleksandr Usyk.
The 35-year-old impressed during the opening rounds and it briefly appeared that a shock might be on the cards.
However, Usyk improved as the fight wore on and recorded the 16th victory of his professional career with a devastating eighth-round knockout.
The Ukrainian, who turns 32 in January and could now move up to the heavyweight division, retained his IBF, WBO, WBA and WBC world cruiserweight titles in the process.
"He is just so hard and so awkward. He is big and he overpowers you. I tried my best and he is probably the best cruiserweight that ever lived," Bellew said of Usyk, per BBC Radio 5 live, after the fight. "It is heartbreaking because I gave it everything I had. Heavyweights stay away, he takes a great shot and I don't even know if I hurt him."
Bellew also confirmed that his illustrious professional career was now at an end: "I have been doing this for 20 years, and it is over."
The Toxteth-born fighter has been widely praised for his performance against Usyk, even though his final fight ended in defeat.
Ricky Hatton’s tweet, though, perhaps said it best. The former two-weight world champion hit the nail on the head about Bellew with his tweet posted in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“What a champion,top fighter & an all round credit to British boxing @TonyBellew is,” Hatton tweeted.
“Boxed the very very best. Showed [he’s] word class but met a superstar.
“Proud of you tony like you wouldn't believe. You did us proud son.x”
What a lovely message from Hatton, whose words will surely mean an awful lot to Bellew.
Boxing fans loved Hatton’s tweet to Bellew - although they didn’t expect anything less from the 40-year-old, who is famed for being one of the nicest and down-to-earth men in boxing.
Bellew is yet to respond directly to Hatton’s tweet. So far, the Liverpudlian has only posted one tweet in the aftermath of the fight.
“I tried my best and gave it everything I had! You my friend @usykaa are a great champion and the best fighter I have ever faced. You beat me fair and square,” he wrote. “I only wish you well going forward and thank you for the opportunity. 👊“.
Classy stuff from Bellew. As Hatton said, an all round credit to British boxing.