David Haye claims a broken toe sustained three weeks ago hampered his bid to upset Wladimir Klitschko in their world heavyweight title unfication showdown in Hamburg on Saturday night.
The Londoner was dominated from the first bell by the giant Ukrainian, and lost his WBA belt by a lop-sided points decision.
Haye failed at any stage to really impose himself on Klitschko, and was unable to back up the pre-fight trash talk and bravado.
Afterwards he claimed that a training injury had hampered his gameplan, and severely hurt his chances of victory.
He told Sky Box Office HD: "I felt I could get past his shots, I felt I could make him pay, but I couldn't push off my right leg, I broke my toe about three weeks ago, I've been giving it local anaesthetics in the gym on hitting the mitts, that's why I stopped sparring a lot earlier than I would have done. I didn't let anybody know.
"I'll show you my toe now - it's busted. I couldn't explode. My Hayemaker wasn't there. I couldn't push off my right foot and land that shot. It was really frustrating. There's nothing worse than seeing his chin there, trying to throw it and falling short because I couldn't explode."
Haye said despite the injury he had hoped pain-killing injections would be enough to get him through the fight.
"I was hoping local anaesthetic that I had in my toe would be enough. It's absolutely excruciating. There's nothing you can do for a broken toe. I was out of range, normally being out of range is fine. I can slip his punches and leap in and land my right hand. I couldn't push off this back leg. There's nothing I could have done. I was hoping with the adrenaline and the crowd I could ignore it and push through it.
"Every time I went to push off, it was like my body wouldn't explode off my right leg so I couldn't land my right hand."
It's one of those things. I did everything I could do - he landed some big shots on me but I proved my chin. He's one of the hardest punchers in the world. He landed flush on my chin a few times. Physically I'm in great shape - I just can't push off my right leg to land my right land. It's frustrating - the biggest fight of my life and this happens.
"We was thinking about pulling out but there was no way after all these good fans had paid money to come over here. I could not pull out."
Haye's pre-fight trash talk clearly angered Klitschko, but afterwards the British man paid tribute to his conqueror.
"He's a great fighter, he was really good. But, if he couldn't throw his right hand I would have got him out of there. He's 30lbs heavier than me, he hit me with some of his best shots and I didn't go down. I wasn't hurt at any stage. I think I proved that I'm a great fighter. I'm just so frustrated that I couldn't land my punches. My foot is in absolute agony right now.
"I've been plagued with injuries throughout my career and it's really frustrating - I'm so powerful and I can land so many good punches but tonight just wasn't my night. Wladimir, I was trying to egg him on to get closer to me. I couldn't hit him at long range so I was trying to encourage him, dropping my hands. But he fought the smart fight and won it on points."