Lee Selby (17-1) will be able to leave to domestic scene behind after a wide, if at times laboured, points victory over Cromer's Ryan Walsh (16-1-1) at the O2 Arena.
Selby, from Barry, Wales, takes home the Lonsdale Challenge after three successful defences of the featherweight title he captured with an impressive eighth round stoppage of Stephen Smith two years ago. Defences against Scot John Simpson and Belfast's Martin Lindsay followed.
It was a slow start for Selby (8st 13lbs 3oz). He found Walsh's (8st 13lbs 13oz) low down, close range industry difficult to cope with. A good left hand from the challenger found the Welshman's whiskers in the opener, but he was still busier, and managed to get through with a couple of clean, mid-range body shots in the second.
By the third, a cut had appeared above Selby's left eye. He had started to assert more control of the fight though, despite a second cut caused by a clash of heads. Selby was warned by referee Marcus McDonnell for holding Walsh down, which was met with disgust by Selby's trainer Chris Sanigar, who gestured to McDonnell about Walsh's apparent use of the head. McDonnell then appeared to dish out an imaginary red card to Sanigar.
Thankfully, the cuts weren't serious enough to halt the fight, and Selby outworked Walsh but found it difficult to land cleanly, taking a few more of the Cromer fighters' punches then he'd have liked. Although Selby started to pull away in the later rounds, he never fully tamed Walsh, who was game until the end. Judges scored 118-112 (Michael Alexander) 118-110 (Steve Gray) and 117-111 (Ian John Lewis).
Is Selby the Welsh Mayweather? Not based on this performance, but that was perhaps down to a spirited shift by Walsh, who should be near the front of the queue for a crack at the newly available featherweight title. For Selby, a fight with Rendall Munroe for the European version has been mentioned.