Josh Warrington's rematch with Mauricio Lara ended in a technical draw after the Mexican suffered a huge cut above his left eye following a clash of heads in the second round.
The ringside doctor waved off the bout as Lara's corner were unable to stem the bleeding from his gaping wound.
It was a major disappointment for both fighters after a pulsating start in front of a partisan crowd in Leeds.
Lara won their first fight by knockout behind closed doors in February.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, Warrington said he was "absolutely gutted" with the outcome.
"I am confused, I don't know what to say," he said. "I honestly felt I could burst into tears when the ref waved it off.
"I thought I caught him in the first round and I thought I could see a nick there and kept targeting it. When I dived in there was a head clash and I am absolutely gutted."
Looking to avenge his only professional defeat, Leeds-born Warrington was roared on by 20,000 fans at Headingley.
With a steely focus he seemed to be missing in their last meeting, the 30-year-old landed a big right and then a combination close to the ropes in the opening round.
Lara, 23, withstood the early attack and fired back with a powerful right of his own as the bout began to heat up.
But with the fight not four rounds in, the contest had to be settled with a draw, as both fighters and the supporters left disappointed.
"I sat down after the first round and thought to myself 'how did this guy knock me out?'.
"The only time I got caught in that second [round] was when I was going reckless," added Warrington.
"I wanted to give the crowd a show, we had a few game plans but I am gutted.
"You go on a rollercoaster of emotions in the changing room. You start doubting yourself and then you convince yourself you are the best in the world.
"After the first round I thought 'wow I am seeing everything'. I thought I could dictate the fight."
'We have been denied a really great fight'
"Both fighters will be devastated," said British world champion Savannah Marshall on BBC Radio 5 Live.
"We have been denied a really great fight on a really great a night. I think Lara knew, straight after the first clash of heads he picked up the tempo right away."
BBC Radio 5 Live commentator Steve Bunce added: "No one can be upset, that is what happens it is boxing. Josh Warrington's career is back on track somewhat but there is an asterisk attached to it.
"If they fight again it will be May, it may have to be Elland Road, it may have to be 50,000 and I will have some of that."
The story of the undercard
Earlier, Ireland's Katie Taylor tightened her grip on women's boxing with a points victory over American Jennifer Han.
Taylor remains undisputed world lightweight champion despite former world featherweight champion Han producing some clever movement to make life difficult early on.
The 35-year-old began to find her range and won 100-89 on all three judges' cards to claim her 19th professional win.
Meanwhile, British welterweight Conor Benn maintained his unbeaten professional record with a points victory over American Adrian Granados.
The Briton, who was frustrated as Granados looked to evade his punches, won 100-90, 99-91, 97-93 on the cards.
Benn was rewarded for landing the bigger shots as he tried to take the fight to his elusive opponent.
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