George Groves outclassed bloodied rival Chris Eubank Jr to retain his WBA super-middleweight title with a unanimous decision victory and book a place in the final of the World Boxing Super Series.
Groves prevailed by margins of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 on the judges' scorecards at the Manchester Arena, despite suffering a suspected dislocated shoulder during the final round as Eubank launched a desperate onslaught.
By that stage, Groves – now with a professional record of 28 wins and three defeats – had built up a handy lead over Eubank (26-2), whose pre-fight promises to outlast his fellow Englishman were undermined by a brawling approach almost entirely devoid of nuance against a skill technician.
Eubank – the son of former two-weight world champions Chris Eubank – certainly appears to have inherited his father's granite chin as he stood up to clean shots from throughout against Groves, having been hindered by a cut eye caused in a third-round clash of heads.
Groves collected the WBA title with a victory over Fedor Chudinov in Sheffield last year but there was a true sense of validation surrounding this triumph on Saturday, at the same venue where Carl Froch inflicted a heartbreaking first career loss in November 2013.
The 29-year-old Londoner will face the winner of next weekend's bout in Germany between his undefeated countryman Callum Smith and Jurgen Brahmer in the final, which is scheduled for June.
That date may be complicated by the shoulder injury that gave a rampaging Eubank belated encouragement – hope his rudimentary and one-dimensional efforts for the majority of the bout scarcely merited.
"I'm very, very happy with the performance," an elated Groves told ITV Box Office. "[My shoulder is] very sore, but I wasn't going to let anything beat me.
"I'd already hurt him before the cut. He wasn't dabbing at it so I don't think it was obscuring his vision. The better man won, but credit to Junior for getting through the match because I hurt him a lot. He dug it out."
Reflecting on his previous outing in Manchester, Groves added: "It's been a long time since I won in front of a big crowd. Obviously, against Carl Froch I didn't win. It's nice to get that justification."
|Fabregas hopeful of Spain recall|
|Milinkovic-Savic plays down Juventus speculation|
|Rashford inspired by Ronaldo|
|Messi is not a leader, he is no Ronaldo, claims Petit|
|Better than Ballack? Hodgson backs Loftus-Cheek to shine against Panama|
|Svitolina and Garcia suffer upsets|
|Walker responds to Ferdinand criticism|
|Djokovic still hungry for more after reaching major milestone|
|Ellis drop goal earns Castleford dramatic win|
|Nigeria hero Musa unsure on Leicester City future|
|X marks the spot - Granit´s rocket sets World Cup first|
|Xhaka and Shaqiri follow the script as Serbia are derailed|
|Chandimal appeal against ban rejected|
|Real Madrid sign teenage goalkeeper Lunin|
|Serbia 1 Switzerland 2: Shaqiri strikes late to clinch crucial comeback victory|
|Suspended Srna joins Serie A side Cagliari|
|Cilic sets up Kyrgios showdown as Djokovic reaches milestone|
|Kudla up next in Federer´s Halle ´fight´|
|Assistant Farbrace to take charge of England for T20 games|
|Hummels hoping to be fit for Sweden clash|
|Hend surges clear as Fleetwood struggles again in Pulheim|
|Giant-killers Mexico embrace sudden weight of expectation|
|Roma complete €17.25m Kluivert deal|
|Pakistan name strong group for Zimbabwe tour|
|Choc Horror: Boullier insists McLaren do not hand out Freddos as bonuses|
|Neymar: Not everyone knows what I went through|
|Poland v Colombia: No time to dwell on regrets, warns Aguilar|
|Musa shows Messi how it´s done to set up critical Argentina showdown|
|Nigeria 2 Iceland 0: Musa brace boosts Super Eagles & Argentina|
|McLaren and Renault open to Ricciardo talks|
|We must win, we have no other choice - Maaloul|
|Germany will respond against Sweden, insists Low|
|´The best among all Asians´, South Korea trust in Son against Mexico|
|Stalin´s bunker an unlikely site for Russia´s World Cup charm offensive|
|England v Panama: Rashford tipped to start as Southgate´s side aim for last 16|
|Erasmus wary of ´wonderful´ Cipriani|
|Hummels to miss Germany-Sweden, confirms Low|
|Murray accepts Eastbourne wildcard|
|St Petersburg madness lines up Neymar and Brazil with heroes of the past|
|Martinez happy to be ´boring Belgium´|
|Japan v Senegal: Squeaky clean Group H rivals eyeing huge step towards last 16|
|Argentina team the worst in history - Ardiles|
|Ravanelli upsets wife by taking Arsenal job...in Kiev|
|Federer moves a step closer to 10th title in Halle|
|Brazil 2 Costa Rica 0: Coutinho and Neymar score in stoppage time to snatch win|
|Andersson: Sweden embracing big occasion as bug sweeps through team|
|LeBron in ´good dialogue´ with Cavaliers|
|Ronaldo will always be the best, Fonte claims|
|Southgate criticises press for England team leak|
|O´Mahony: Series win in Australia would be up there with Grand Slam|
|Khedira thrilled with Can capture, staying with Juventus|
|Samuel open to Higuain-Icardi swap deal|
|It´s just a game - Milligan disappointed by Kruse criticism|
|From drug-testing lab to gastro pub: Sochi happy not to forget dark past|
|Ronaldo will do what is best for him, says Carvajal|
|Kohli: India will feel at home in England|
|Barca target Lenglet yet to decide future|
|Germany perform best under pressure, Klose claims|
|Juanfran signs one-year Atletico Madrid extension|
|Julian Nagelsmann: The remarkable rise of RB Leipzig|
|Sterling: my daughter is Liverpool through and through!|
|Van Bommel to take charge of PSV|
|Hansen urges France not to ´squeal´ over decisions|
|Intelligent Jones will turn England´s fortunes around - Moody|
|Nainggolan confirms imminent Inter transfer|
|U.S. Open missed cut may be blessing in disguise - McIlroy|
|Schmidt in no rush to decide on his future|
|Wallabies treating decider as grand final - Hooper|
|Salah won´t leave World Cup, Egypt FA boss claims|
|Chandimal, Hathurusinghe and Gurusinha admit ´serious´ conduct breach|