TRAINER Paddy Fitzpatrick was full of praise for Luke ‘The Duke’ Watkins after the Swindon fighter suffered a late defeat to Isaac Chamberlain in London on Saturday.

Watkins had led the fight going into the final round after the two cruiserweights went toe-to-toe at the Copper Box Arena in a gruelling contest.

The former Swindon New College student was ahead on the referee’s scorecard after nine of the 10 scheduled rounds, however, a barrage of punches from Chamberlain in the dying seconds of the contest saw Watkins take a knee on the canvas, ultimately tipping the bout in his opponents' favour.

Referee Kieran McCann scored the fight 95-94 to Chamberlain, but Fitzpatrick says he was hugely impressed by his man’s showing, which was broadcast live on Sky Sports.

The Ferndale Road trainer said: “Duke put in an excellent performance. It was well received by everyone watching on television and everyone watching in the arena.

“It was a great fight between two excellent men. Luke was winning the fight going into the last round and he was up on the referee’s scorecard.

“What happened, happened. It’s the fight game. If you’re watching, that is what you want to see.

“It was a good fight all the way through and then there was drama at the end.

“There was no controversy. We deserved to be ahead and we probably deserved to lose because of what happened at the end.

“Going into the last round, I said to Luke that Isaac was going to jump at him with everything he had. I told him to save his energy so he was ready to go.

“We will have to call it a lack of experience because they’re men on their way through. I would have liked him to grab hold seven or eight shots earlier.

“The warrior in him, which makes him so good to watch, was saying he was okay. He didn’t feel lost, I think it was more exhaustion in the end.”

Fitzpatrick revealed that Watkins is more than likely to fight again before the end of the year, stating the 28-year-old will appear on another Matchroom show.

That means the Swindon man has boxed on TV in each of his last five fights, something that Fitzpatrick attributes to the cruiserweight’s style.

“Duke likes to entertain, he likes being in these fights he doesn’t want the easy fights and he likes the challenge,” added Fitzpatrick.

“We have lost the last two, one with seven seconds left and one (against Lawrence Okolie) where we got hit with massive power.

“Duke has proved himself and everyone enjoys him. It’ll be exciting for him to get back out. He will be out in the next 90 days.

“I would guess that would be this side of Christmas, we will know for sure in the next few weeks.

“Then, who knows? A show at home in March might be a nice chance to bring him back. We have another fight with Matchroom, so he will be out again and then he’ll be looking to get back in the mix.

“That’s what makes him so exciting. If you look at him as a package, he talks, he has fun and he understands the psychology of the game.

“He does what he says and does not shy away from a fight.”