Promoter Eddie Hearn admits he “was shocked” when he heard Tim Cheatham’s 117-111 scorecard in favor of Richardson Hitchins last night.

Super lightweight contender Hitchins moved to 18-0 (7 KOs), and is in line to face the winner of the June fight between Subriel Matias and Liam Paro, but he had his hands full with now 29-1 Gustavo Lemos on his way to a narrow and controversial win in Las Vegas.

Cheatham’s colleagues Max De Luca and Steve Weisfeld both scored 115-113 for Hitchins.

“I was shocked. When I heard 117-111, firstly I thought that could only be for Hitchins because sometimes I think a judge can only score that kind of style, that boxing style, boxing and move, but for me, 115-113 is the right scorecard,” Hearn told the Matchroom Boxing channel. 

“On a 115-113 scorecard, it can really be 115-113 either way, you’re one round away from a draw, when I see 117-111 when I look at the scorecards that judge gave Richardson the last four rounds. He [Hitchins] definitely didn’t win 11. He might not have won 12, but I thought the cleaner work was from Richardson. I thought early on, first two or three rounds, Lemos came out like a train, then Hitchins started to control the fight, and then Lemos came back in the fight at the end. 

“It was a really close fight, and Richardson was catching a lot of shots as well, he was hurt a couple of times in the fight, but I thought it was an amazing fight.”

Hearn gave Argentine Lemos credit and said he wants to work with him again, whether it is in the U.S. or the U.K. but Hearn was also satisfied with the type of contest it was. 

“We’ve sometimes given Richardson some stick for not giving us those kind of fights, and tonight he did, so well done,” Hearn added.

But, the promoter warned Hitchins that improvements have to be made if the New Yorker is going to take the step up to world titles.

“If Richardson performs like that against Matias, he ain’t going to beat him,” Hearn said. “But he’s been through those horrible moments and he can recall that when it gets tough again. 

“Although people will moan, particularly about the 117-111 card, they’ll appreciate the guts and nuts that Hitchins showed in there tonight. He was entertaining, which is what everybody wants.”