Sunny Edwards was just as congratulatory in defeat as he was vocal prior to the biggest fight of his career.

A highly anticipated IBF/WBO unification bout versus Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez saw the previously unbeaten Brit suffer a stoppage defeat after nine rounds. England’s Edwards was cut around both eyes, dropped late in round nine and kept on his stool prior to the start of round ten Saturday evening at Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

The two unbeaten flyweight titlists fought at an extremely high skill level but Edwards complained of compromised vision which eventually forced an end to the DAZN main event.

“Left eye went in the second from a sharp jab,” Edwards stated afterward while taken to a nearby hospital as a precautionary measure. “Was seeing double the majority of the fight. Enjoyed every moment of the event, grateful to be a part of it all.

“Jesse Rodriguez, congratulations and well done a great performance. I’ve been boxing 18 years and it’s never been like that.”

Edwards (20-0, 4KOs) attempted the fifth defense of the IBF title he claimed in a dominant twelve-round points win over Moruti Mhtalane in April 2021. The London native—who lives and trains in Sheffield—went the distance in all five prior title fights but was unable to keep pace once San Antonio’s Rodriguez (19-0, 12KOs) truly hit his groove midway through the fight.

Early signs of a rough night came when Edwards developed a mouse under his left eye in round two. He was also cut under the eye and later both along the inside and over his right eye. A knockdown late in round nine appeared to have finally beaten the fight out of Edwards, but he bravely rose from the canvas to beat the count and make it out of the round.

Life-long trainer Grant Smith had seen enough by that point and informed referee Chris Flores that his charge was done for the night.

“After about the ninth round, I couldn’t really see out of both eyes,” admitted Edwards, who fought in the U.S. for the first time as a pro. “Look, Grant’s had me since I was eight years old. If he’s saying he couldn’t let this keep going, then I can’t. I didn’t feel like I was hurt in there. It was just, I couldn’t see out my left or right eye.”

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox