Maria Cecchi headbutted her opponent during a European super bantamweight title fight
Boxing enthusiasts piled on Maria 'Russian Hurricane' Cecchi after she landed a headbutt on her unprotected opponent.
Representing Italy, Cecchi was taking on Spanish foe Mary Romero for the EBU European super bantamweight title in Milan on Friday.
At one stage of the scrappy affair that fans even booed, Cecchi lost her cool as the referee separated them from a clinch where Cecchi had her back to Romero.
In a moment of madness, the 26-year-old decided to headbutt Romero and ended up being docked two points.
Way down on the cards in any event, Cecchi fell to a first career defeat with her record now 7-1 after the judges scored a unanimous decision 100-88, 100-88, and 98-90 in Romero's favor.
On Twitter, boxing fans blasted Cecchi for her outburst with former cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli calling for her to be "slung out" after landing her best shot "all night" amid "sh*tting" herself during the fight.
"Maria Cecchi should be suspended or something for that deliberate headbutt. And so should the referee for being an idiot," raged one fan.
"That should be a disqualification," said another, about the "absolutely disgraceful headbutt from Cecchi".
"Pre-fight talking about how she likes the sweet science and is a pure boxer and [then] pulls a stunt like that and has made the fight scrappy as hell. Shocking," it was added.
"Cecchi was awful tonight," began another critique. "A far, far cry from how she normally looks. Holding, headbutts... terrible showing for her. Absolutely terrible."
Over on Instagram, Cecchi made a lengthy post asking "all my people for forgiveness".
"I ask forgiveness from my coaches, people who have chosen to help me just one month from the title [fight] and have given their best despite the great difficulties," she continued.
"And I can say it concretely, it was the best month of my life. I haven't missed anything. But sometimes the results take longer than what we are allowed. It was not my night. I was ready for many situations but not for that confusion," Cecchi admitted.
"I've been through much worse times, anyone who knows me knows that. God is great. We will return to shine," she signed off, before sending "hugs to all".
By retaining her belt in a second defense, Romero improved to 8-2 and looks to be on her way to staying six years undefeated.