SSE Arena, Wembley - Joe Cordina overcame Faroukh Kourbanov by majority decision on his long-awaited ring return.
With one judge having declared the fight a draw, scores of 98-93 and 96-95 were enough to see Cordina register his 12th straight victory in the professional ranks.
Cordina showed his class in the first half of the super featherweight fight before somewhat fading as he was forced to settle for the points win in his first fight since 2019.
"I didn’t think it was close at all,” said Cordina. “I think he nicked one or two rounds, maybe three. I was comfortable and I didn’t really get out of second gear. I let him work a couple of times throughout the rounds, maybe I shouldn’t have. I got a good valuable ten rounds out of that and it’s something to build on. I’ll put on a better performance in my next fight.
"It wasn’t about just going out there and trying to blow him out of there. We knew he was tough, that’s why we chose him. Both of his losses before me were to European champions. He’s gone the distance a lot of times, we knew he was durable. We got the rounds under our belt and I felt I hurt him a couple of times. He was cute at times.
"I had 16 months out of the ring. He came to win and that’s what I wanted. The hand felt fine, I let it go a few times. I didn’t want to overdo it. Tony told me to let the shots flow so that’s what I did. I shouldn’t have any problems with my hand now. It’s time to build on that. If I want to be a world champion, I have to get past people like Kourbanov. I didn’t really get out of second gear."