FARNWORTH boxer Jack Flatley suffered a second defeat of his professional career in Spain on Friday when he was stopped in the ninth round by European super middleweight champion Kerman Lejarraga.

It was a brave display by the 27-year-old fighting the title holder in his home town of Bilbao but ultimately a test too far for the fighter nicknamed ‘Quiet Storm’.

The belt holder came out on the front foot from the first bell and a left jab sent Flatley to the canvas late in the first round before the bell halted the count.

The Farnworth fighter took punishment again in round two despite trying to use his footwork to keep Lejarraga at bay and he did land some shots of his own.

As the fight progressed, Flatley struggled to keep out the Spaniard’s left jab.

But he continued to battle bravely against Lejarraga and a partisan home crowd.

By the end of round four, both fighters had bumps under their respective right eyes.

Despite the champion being less relentless as the fight went on, round five saw him land a left uppercut which backed Flatley on to the ropes before a combination of punches the Boltonian managed to withstand.

Despite edging each round, the champion was struggling to find a way to end Flatley’s resistance.

But in round eight, he landed a right hand that sent Flatley to the canvas for the second time.

The Boltonian beat the referee’s count but then had to withstand more punishment before the end of the round.

The home crowd sensed victory was not far away and so it proved in round nine.

A powerful right hand catches Flatley early in the round and the referee calls time on the Farnworth fighter’s challenge.

After medical attention, Flatley was back on his feet and received respect from the Bilbao crowd prompted by the champion Lejarraga who was first to make sure Flatley was okay.

And he showed his class post fight, too, with Flatley confirming on Twitter the Spaniard waited outside the local hospital for him to get checked out before driving him back to his hotel and buying his team pizza.

Flatley tweeted: “Yes and he did this with not a camera in sight, true champion and has my respect for life.”

On his return home on Sunday, Flatley added: “Home with my girlfriend and family after an unreal experience. 9 hard rounds which we didn’t get the result but experiences that will live me for life on a huge stage. Can only go forward from here.”

Flatley’s record now stands at 17 wins and two losses from 20 bouts.