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Paul Smith lost a third attempt to win a world title as Tyron Zeuge retained his WBA world super-middleweight belt with a unanimous points decision.
Smith, 34, lost WBO title bouts with Arthur Abraham in 2014 and 2015, and trainer Joe Gallagher said Saturday’s fight was a “last roll of the dice”.
The Briton has now been beaten seven times in his 45 professional fights.
The three judges in Wetzlar, Germany, each ruled the fight 119-108 in Zeuge’s favour.
It was Zeuge’s third defence since he won the WBA title from Italian Gioavanni de Carolis in November 2016.
In a largely one-sided contest, Smith was given a count by the referee in the closing seconds of the final round despite appearing to slip.
“Is it the end at world level for him? 100%. Is there another level he wants to compete at? That is one for Paul Smith,” promoter Eddie Hearn said on Sky Sports.
“We talked about last-chance saloon before the fight, he left it much too late. I think he will be kicking himself for that.
“He had a good spell in the third round when he wobbled Zeuge, and he did in the 11th and 12th rounds too. We would have liked to see that earlier, but it’s easy for us to say. Zeuge was very good and countered well.”