Lee McGregor unified the British and Commonwealth bantamweight titles with a disputed split points decision after a hotly-contested 12 rounds in Glasgow.
A rare clash of unbeaten young fighters – who had once been room-mates as amateurs - produced a spectacular fight and while many felt Kash Farooq had done enough to win and McGregor also had a point deducted for holding, several rounds were very close and McGregor finished the stronger.
“It was a gruelling, hard fight,” McGregor said. “I felt like I had a good start, in the middle rounds Kash did well, hit me to the body and outworked me. But I had a strong finish, I felt like I got a second wind.
"I would have been confident I would have won the fight clearly, but with the point off I knew it was going to be very close. I’m absolutely over the moon.
“Just like beforehand, so many people had different opinions on the outcome of the fight and I think they are going to have so many different opinions on the winner of the fight. It was that kind of fight, I just think my strong finish won it.”
The taller McGregor, 22, who was only having his eighth professional fight, tried to pile on pressure in the early rounds, but while his work was often wild, Farooq countered him with heavy shots, dominating the second, third and fourth rounds and repeatedly making McGregor to pay when he missed, with hooks upstairs and body shots.
There was success for McGregor, though, with the right uppercut and by the middle rounds McGregor, the defending Commonwealth champion, had got a foothold in the fight as the action kept on at a fierce rate.
Both had success in the eighth round, Farooq, the defending British champion, making McGregor wince from a body shot but then getting caught by a right.
Still it was Farooq, 23, from Glasgow, who was generally dominating the action, but in the ninth he was badly cut over the left eye and then bundled threw the ropes by the exhausted-looking McGregor, who then had a point deducted in the tenth, by referee Victor Loughlin, for repeated holding.
The penalty seemed to inspire McGregor, from Edinburgh, who landed flush with a big right, although Farooq came back in the last moments of the round. McGregor also had a good last round, as Farooq tired.
John Latham and Phil Edwards scored it 114-113, for Farooq and McGregor respectively. Mark Lyson made it 115-112 to McGregor, which seemed tough on Farooq.
McGregor admitted afterwards that he was not yet ready to step up to world level. “What do we do, I’ve had eight fights?” he said. “Do we go European or world level? I’m going to leave it to my management. I feel like I need a few more fights like that and then I am ready to take over the world.”