Matthew Macklin claimed the vacant WBC International super-welterweight title in a pulsating unanimous points victory over a valiant Jason Welborn in Birmingham on Saturday.
Macklin, 33, was handed a 96-94, 96-94, 97-93 victory after 10 ferociously contested rounds in which both fighters landed heavy blows.
Welborn was the more aggressive of the two, spending much of the fight on the front foot, but Macklin's superior accuracy - particularly on the counter - proved decisive for the judges.
However, he was far from his best and admitted afterwards that he had taken too many shots.
Macklin said: "It wasn't a great performance. I've been practising countering. When it worked, it's brilliant, and when it doesn't, it's bad. It's not going to work straight away. Sometimes I was there too long.
"I shouldn't have allowed it as much as I did. I was coming back with nice ones and twos. I was staying there too long but that was one thing that I've been working on."
The pattern of the fight was set in the first round, when Welborn made a flying start and pushed Macklin back with a flurry of right hands.
Macklin spent much of the opening two rounds on the defensive but had settled into his rhythm by the third and subsequently took control of the fight through his counter-punching.
The fifth round was twice stopped after Macklin took several minutes to recover from separate low blows, which resulted in Welborn being docked a point.
But despite the rest, both men began to tire after the sixth round and the slowing of the pace worked in Macklin's favour, who began picking off Welborn with body shots as his target became more static.
Welborn nevertheless continued to unload big shots and the fight reached a thrilling crescendo in the final round, when both men brought the Birmingham crowd to its feet with a non-stop exchange of heavy blows.
Welborn couldn't land a knockout blow as Macklin saw out a hard-earned victory in front of his home crowd.