Stretford boxer Bradley Rea suffered a first defeat of his professional career and missed out on his bid to become English middleweight champion.

He lost to a unanimous points decision after 10 tough rounds, the scores being 95-94, 95-94, 97-92 in favour of the belt holder. Tyler Denny

The 24-year-old accepted champion lDenny was the better performer on the night at Manchester’s AO Arena but the victor was impressed by Rea and says he will bounce back after his first pro loss in 15 bouts.

West Midlands star Denny told Sky Sports: “He [Rea] is 24 and has a great team behind him and a great fan base in Manchester.

“He will come again.”

It was a cagey opening round with good combinations from both boxers.

Rea continued to land good body shots but his longer reach left him open to head shots and Denny took advantage on more than one occasions in the next few rounds.

But Rea took the blows and remained positive looking to get his ownj shots away when he could despite being second best for the first half of the bout.

In the fifth he was rocked by a succession of good left-handers from Denny but remained on his feet throughout.

It looked to be all one-way until the ninth round when a superb body shot hurt Denny and he was on the ropes briefly before managing to get through to the bell.

Knowing he was ahead on the scorecards, Denny then played it safe to avoid any further pounishment in the final round.

Rea said: “I was looking for that one big shot all night but it wasn’t my night.

“I have no excuses - I gave it my all in the gym and in training.

“That was the best possible me in there and I got beat by the better fighter at the end of the day.

“Tyler was the deserved winner.”