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."
15. Dezember 2018
|Stade beat Ospreys on emotional Chauvin tribute night|
|Ligue 1 survival bid a marathon not a sprint for Monaco, as club appoints distance runner|
14. Dezember 2018
|Vertonghen eyeing Spurs future beyond 2020|
|De Bruyne injuries could be a blessing for City, says Guardiola|
|Emery prepared to face Arsenal´s centre-back crisis|
|Ulster complete Scarlets double, Exeter gain Gloucester revenge|
|Sheffield United 1 West Brom 2: Baggies comeback boosts automatic promotion push|
|Del Potro back on court following knee injury|
|Canelo v Fielding: Rocky ready to write his own fairytale in New York|
|Boca part company with Schelotto after Copa Libertadores loss to River|
|Canelo v Fielding: Tale of the tape|
|Juventus defender Cancelo has knee surgery|
|Canelo v Fielding: Alvarez and Rocky make weight in New York|
|Spalletti does not fear another mid-season crisis at Inter|
|Salah headlines CAF Player of the Year shortlist as Koulibaly misses out|
|Beckham Jr. out of Titans clash|
|Lipsky hits the front at Leopard Creek|
|Pederson coy over Wentz back injury|
|Liverpool ´not really likely´ to be active in January window, reveals Klopp|
|Always on the move and unpredictable - Pavard reveals surprising choice over toughest opponent|
|We need to get back to respect - Lampard alarmed by hate in football|
|Giles returns to England to replace Strauss as director|
|Hansen has no issue with Milner-Skudder Toulon switch|
|Juventus to rest Ronaldo after Torino showdown|
|Titmus strikes gold again as world records tumble in Hangzhou|
|Malinga to captain Sri Lanka in New Zealand|
|Rivaldo would like ´excellent´ Isco at Barcelona|
|United a long way from Mourinho´s vision|
|´Klopp denies an answer!´ - Liverpool boss dismisses questions about ´world-class´ Pogba|
|Returning Nowitzki ´so tired´ after making NBA history|
|Aguero and De Bruyne in contention for Manchester City v Everton|
|Simeone has no plans to cash in on Costa|
|Canelo v Fielding: Alvarez´s greatest nights|
|Fabregas: Chelsea being unfairly scapegoated over racism allegations|
|Crisis? What crisis? Klopp focuses on defensive solutions for United clash|
|Hope cannot inspire Windies as Bangladesh cruise to series win|
|Benitez picks up Premier League Manager of the Month award|
|Chavez, Marquez and Canelo - Mexico´s greatest multi-weight world champions|
|Bale set to miss Real Madrid v Rayo Vallecano|
|Robben out until January as Bayern look to avoid serious injury|
|Milan avoid UEFA ban in FFP punishments.|
|Mourinho compares Liverpool to ´an amazing house´ but insists trophies matter|
|Brisbane Roar 2 Melbourne Victory 4: Muscat´s men hit A-League summit|
|Bumrah confident second Test is ´in the balance´ after India recovery|
|Isco gesture was for a corner or foul, claims Solari|
|Harris leads Australia into ascendancy on day one|
|ATP announces candidates to host future Finals|
|Ronaldo: Juventus fans refuse to lose to Torino|
|Hero Rivers feared he had cost Chargers in KC|
|Williams would welcome Llorente back to Athletic Bilbao|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Minding the gap|
|Milan elimination unjust, fumes Leonardo|
|Paul hails ´sick´ Harden after record-breaking display|
|Liverpool v Manchester United: Salah, Mane and Firmino v Rashford, Martial and Lukaku in Opta number|
|Canelo open to GGG trilogy as he chases place in Mexican history|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Harden posts record fourth 50-point triple-double in win over Lakers|
|Barcelona squad happy with Dembele, says Alba|
|Chargers rally past Chiefs to clinch playoff spot|
|WATCH: Chargers top Chiefs on dramatic two-point conversion in final seconds|
|Suns owner Sarver committed to keeping team in Phoenix|
|Chargers WR Allen leaves with injury after near-spectacular catch|
|Socceroos not giving up on Mooy for Asian Cup|
|Cooper says Raiders owner wanted to trade him to Cowboys|
|Pochettino jokes Levy is ´worried´ about losing him|
|Barcelona would welcome Morata – Alba|
|Toure not a priority for West Ham – Pellegrini|
|Koscielny no certainty to face Southampton, says Emery|
|We gifted the game – AC Milan boss Gattuso furious after Europa League exit|
|My season starts now, says Koscielny|