The Lisburn kickboxer fought back well in the second round and floored the Frenchman with a punch but the referee didn’t score a knockdown in Bird’s favour.

Masterson Bird’s coach at the bout said, “ It was clearly a knockdown from a punch, granted not a big punch but nevertheless he was on the canvas as a result from a blow and that constitutes a standing count, well it should have. If counted by the Ref that would have resulted in a different decision and the out-come of the match may have been different. The third saw Mark landing some good shots but at the final bell he lost the match on points.”

Carl Emery who helped make the match told Billy Murray “ Mark just didn’t perform to the best of his ability, technically Mark is very good but Sofiane just took the game away from Mark on the opening round and he didn’t get into the fight the way we know he can. But I believe Mark lost the fight fair and square.”

The Swiss former world champion added, “ I’m not sure if he was nervous, lost too much weight or there was something else.”

It was Robert Masterson who summed-it-up after a lengthy communication with Billy Murray: The French fighter is a tough fighter but I believe Mark can beat him. Just getting back to the fight - in the 2nd round the Frenchman was on the ground from a punch which the referee didn’t pick up on, it was a strike that definitely put him down. Mark is so disappointed that he has let himself and everyone else back home down.”

Robert finished off by adding Mark is not injured the only thing hurting now is his pride and that is easy fixed by getting back to the gym quickly and by winning his next fight.

Talks are in process for a rematch which would be great for the Next Generation event in Belfast scheduled for 11th April at the Holiday Inn. More on this as it develops.