What was supposed to be the biggest night of Michael Dutchover’s blossoming boxing career became nightmarish in the eighth round September 20.

Dutchover was beating Thomas Mattice on two scorecards entering that eighth round of a main event Showtime televised from Midland, Texas, Dutchover’s hometown. A then-undefeated Dutchover suffered a cut over his left eye during the eighth round, however, which led to a ringside physician advising referee Robert Velez to stop their fight.

Velez ruled that one of Mattice’s punches caused Dutchover’s cut, therefore Dutchover lost that scheduled 10-round lightweight bout by technical knockout. Dutchover was ahead 69-64 and 68-65 on two scorecards, but behind 67-66 on the other card to Cleveland’s Mattice (15-2-1, 11 KOs).

“It was pretty controversial,” Dutchover told BoxingScene.com. “The first loss of my career, in my hometown, and there’s only two rounds left. It was a small cut that the doctor and the referee didn’t let my team work on. They stopped it pretty quick, and I was up on two of the scorecards going into the eighth round. But it was out of my control for them to stop the fight, and they did.

“That was their call. I couldn’t do nothing about it. My opponent, Thomas Mattice, couldn’t do nothing about it. I’m sure he wanted to keep fighting, also. I just have to throw that in the bag and chalk it up as a learning experience.”

The 22-year-old Dutchover (13-1, 10 KOs) will attempt to bounce back from his first professional defeat Sunday night at Omega Products International Event Center in Corona, California. He is scheduled to battle Jorge Marron Jr. (18-1, 6 KOs) in an eight-round junior welterweight bout that’ll be the main event of a three-bout pay-per-view show available on promoter Thompson Boxing’s website, www.thompsonboxing.com ($6.50 in the United States; 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT).

The 26-year-old Marron (18-1, 6 KOs), of Lakeside, California, has won six straight fights against a low level of opposition since suffering his lone loss – a six-round majority decision to Mexico’s Jorge Zapoteco (7-5-3, 2 KOs) in July 2018.

“He’s a lefty who has experience,” Dutchover said, “but I’ve trained real hard and I’ve had great success against left-handers. My mentality has been different this whole year, and I’ve been different, training for this one fight that’s on Sunday. It’s gonna show all the hard work that’s been put in, and it’s gonna show that one loss doesn’t end your career. I wanna show that and make my way back up toward the top of the rankings, get in the top 10 in my division, win a regional belt and keep climbing the rankings and become a world-title contender.”

Dutchover’s return Sunday night will be far different than his loss to Mattice in that fans won’t be allowed to attend the card due to COVID-19 restrictions. Dutchover admits that the pressure of his hometown event 10 months ago adversely affected his performance because he got away from his game plan by trying too hard to appease an adoring crowd at The Hacienda Event Center.

“I kind of let the fans get to me in the Mattice fight,” Dutchover said. “I’m not gonna have to worry about that [Sunday night]. But I wanna show all of my skills, not just one skill that I have, trying to go for the kill. I just wanna show I can truly box, keep pressure on him, show good defense and wear him down because I’m the kind of fighter that likes to wear people down.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing