ROSIE Eccles was denied the chance to fight for gold at the European Championships in Madrid after losing her 69kg semi-final on a split decision.

The Caldicot welterweight looked like she had done enough to beat Angela Carini, but three of the five judges sided with the Italian.

To make it even more heart-breaking for the Welsh fighter, the Romanian judge gave the verdict to Carini having scored the three-round contest level at 28-28.

The same judge had awarded Eccles the first two rounds by a 10-9 margin, before scoring the last 10-8 to her opponent, despite there being no knockdown or count from the referee.

Eccles, who had guaranteed herself at least bronze after disposing of England’s Sandy Ryan on Wednesday, made a bright start, landing the cleaner punches from the off.

Carini did come into the contest more in round two, however, Eccles maintained her form as she controlled the centre of the ring.

A bit of tiredness crept into the Welsh woman’s legs in the third and four of the judges gave it to Carini.

Eccles was hoping to go one step further than 2016 when she picked up a silver.

But while the Carini loss will hurt, she can take comfort in the fact that the win over Ryan in the quarter-finals will have given her chances of making next year’s Olympics a big boost.

Ryan, who beat Eccles to the 2018 Commonwealth Games title, is her main rival for a place in the British team for Tokyo 2020.

The autumn’s World Championships is the next big event for Eccles.