Anthony Crolla put himself back in the title mix with a points victory over Kieran Farrell in a barnstorming brawl at Bowlers in Manchester.
The unbeaten Farrell was stepping up in class against the former British lightweight champion, but predictably took the fight to the seasoned Mancunian early on.
The pair traded leather from the opening bell with the Farrell the aggressor as Crolla tucked up and looked to take the fight into the latter stages.
By halfway in the 10-rounder Farrell was well ahead as he continued to land first and out-punched his opponent - although that was saying something as Crolla was hardly holding back.
The fight began to turn in the sixth as Crolla's sharp jab started to pay dividends in as much as it slowed Farrell's offensive march.
And while the overall feeling was that Farrell looked the bigger, stronger man it was Crolla's work that was increasingly catching the eye.
By the penultimate round Farrell was tiring and as his opponent had counted on, his early aggression was starting to backfire.
They traded blows to the end in what was an exhausting fight to watch, and when all was said and done it all became too much for Farrell, who lost consciousness as the arena awaited the scores.
Such was his condition that the 22-year-old Lancastrian had to be stretchered away from the ring prior to the announcement of Crolla as the winner (99-92, 99-93 and 96-94) although early reports suggested the move was precautionary.
It means Crolla (now 25-4) can now look forward to the likelihood of challenging the winner of Martin Gethin vs Ben Murphy for the British title in 2013, while Farrell has the time to re-group and come again.