Vitali Klitschko was given a scare before retaining his WBC world heavyweight title with a unanimous points victory over Dereck Chisora.
British challenger Chisora became only the fourth fighter to take the elder Klitschko the distance, however 'Del-boy' fell short on the scorecards, which read 118-110 118-110 119-111 in the champion's favour.
Despite the defeat, Chisora can be proud of his efforts, and emerged from the contest with plenty of credit, for his antics inside the ring, at least.
The 28-year-old Londoner caught Klitschko with a number of powerful body shots and the 40-year-old Ukrainian was well below-par during his latest defence.
A squabble ensued before the bout about the way Chisora's hands were prepared for battle and the presence of Klitschko's brother Wladimir in the challenger's dressing room.
Chisora, who faces a fine after slapping Klitschko in the weigh-in, was unsurprisingly booed and jeered by the 12,000-strong crowd as he made his way to the ring before 'Dr Ironfist's' glitzy entrance.
Chisora immediately sought to get in his opponent's face as soon as Klitschko stepped between the ropes and then spat water in his brother Wladimir's face.
Chisora pressed the early action and enjoyed the odd success in the first round but Klitschko, while cumbersome, was largely untroubled and kept catching the challenger on the way in.
A Chisora right to the body and follow-up left hook was at least eye-catching. Klitschko looked uncomfortable at times but maintained an air of authority. A downward right hand was brushed off by Chisora but three more, all single shots, were more telling.
Klitschko was feinting with the jab and landing his powerful right, with a fierce uppercut hitting home hard in the third.
Chisora was at least making a fight of it, however one-sided it tended to be.
The Briton jumped in with a left hook late in the fourth but took a right to the jaw for his trouble.
Two judges had Klitschko winning every round after four sessions but one somehow had the challenger winning one.
Chisora was at least showing aggression and punch resistance to back up his pre-fight misdemeanours.
The challenger was slow off his stool for the seventh, perhaps with the futility of the task at hand dawning on him.
Two body shots hit Klitschko's ribs, a left hook also landed and a winging right gave the champion something to consider. A shot right near the ear by Klitschko was the first time Chisora looked hurt, however, as the champion finished the round well on top.
Chisora thudded in a left hook but was again forced to swallow a powerful shot in return. Further single right hands thudded home late in the ninth to enthral the partisan Klitschko crowd.
Chisora landed the occasional glancing blow but Klitschko's effectiveness kept him streets ahead.
Still Chisora came forward, though, sucking up the punishment until the final bell before the unanimous verdict in Klitschko's favour was announced.
Speaking after the fight, Chisora said: "I'm not going to make any excuses, the only thing that beat me tonight was experience. I'm going to keep working hard and we'll get a rematch.
"I don't have any regrets. They (the crowd) can boo me if they want but as long as they are watching the sport I love, I'm happy.
"I came here to fight, I did, and the only thing that beat me was experience. Before everything he came into my changing room to try and disrupt me. Did he hurt me? No. I want a rematch.
"I'm very disappointed with myself. I didn't really work my jab but I gave a great fight."
Klitschko himself said: "First of all I'm very happy to defend my title. It was not an easy fight.
"It was a good performance from Chisora, he was very motivated, putting me under pressure throughout the 12 rounds.
"I don't want to make any excuses, it was not easy. But I saw with the punches from Chisora, he was a little slow, if Chisora had been faster I'd have a problem.
"I'm a little bit upset because I wanted to finish this fight before 12 rounds."