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Boos cascaded down from the stands Friday night at Rupp Arena after Lawrenceburg's Brandon Yocum was "robbed" in his quest for the American Fight League's amateur middleweight crown.
Yocum, who appeared to dominate Brian Keller of Charlotte, N.C., lost a split decision by the judges.
"I'm still trying to get over that," said his trainer, Brad Briscoe, a physical therapist from Lawrenceburg who also judges fights for the organization. "I was shocked."
Yocum, who made his fighting debut at Eagle Lake Convention Center two summers ago, entered the ring for his shot at the title as "King of Kings" by heavy metal group Motorhead blared through the speakers at Rupp.
Yocum got off on Keller first, taking him down and scoring a series of points with sharp body and head blows.
He was on top of Keller nearly the entire first round, and continued on top in the second. Several times Yocum broke free of Keller's grip by picking him up from the prone position and slamming him to the ring floor. Midway through the second round, he stacked Keller on the back of his head, and scored repeated blows to his midsection.
Keller managed several times to reverse position, but Yocum was quickly able to reestablish his position on top.
Following the fight, Yocum said he was surprised with the judges' decision.
He said his game plan was to keep the fight near his own corner, where Briscoe could offer advice. Doing so, though, might have blocked two of the judges from seeing some of the blows he landed.
"I was elbowing him in the face and landing lots of body shots," he said. "He did catch me in two arm bars, but I was able to get out of them. I don't know how you can give someone points for getting me in that position and not give me points for getting out."
Yocum said the third judge's score of 30-27 was clearly not right.
"It was a 29-28 fight, and it's arguable which way it could go.
"But that 30-27 was just wrong."
"That was ludicrous," he said. "Even some of the important people there like the promoters said it was ridiculous. Some of them even apologized to me. To see it go down like that just killed me."
After what appeared to be a decisive second round, Briscoe said he told Yocum that he easily won the first two and needed only to stay alive in the third to win.
"He was obviously the aggressor, caused more damage and controlled the position the whole fight," said Briscoe, adding that the promoters have already offered to set up a rematch.
Yocum, who said he has known Keller for two years, said the sentiment among those with whom he spoke after the fight was that he won.
"I was joking with him after the fight, telling him he got lucky," Yocum said. "When we were walking out, some guy comes up to me and said, 'You were robbed.' Brian [Keller] had kind of a shocked look on his face."
Yocum, whose record now stands at 6-2, said he's not sure when he'll fight again, but intends to keep going.
"There have been talks about fighting in Frankfort, but we'll see what's next," he said.