Blackpool boxer Matty Askin successfully defended his English cruiserweight in his home town but there was a worrying end to the contest as opponent Menay Edwards was taken to hospital.
In his first title defence at the Winter Gardens, the South Shore 25-year-old brought the contest to a disturbing and dramatic conclusion.
Midway through the penultimate round of the fast-paced 10-round contest, Askin set up a fierce attack, drove the Londoner into a corner and floored him heavily with a huge left hook.
With Edwards clearly in distress, the referee wasted no time in halting the contest.
Menay collapsed in his corner and, after lengthy treatment by medical staff, was taken to hospital for a precautionary examination.
Ricky Hatton, who co-promoted the event with VIP, later confirmed that Edwards was conscious and talking in hospital, while Askin passed on his best wishes for a speedy recovery.
Askin, who now has 17 wins from 19 professional contests, had earlier looked like bringing the bout to an early conclusion when he launched a fierce bombardment, landing some pinpoint right crosses and taking the first round by a wide margin.
While the second round was closer, with Edwards busy, Askin’s punching was far superior as his opponent’s blows were mainly arm punches with little power.
Yorkshire-born Askin kept the pressure on in the next two rounds, working well to the body, and in some heated exchanges his work was much more effective. In the fifth and sixth, Askin dropped his work-rate and Edwards’ persistence merited a share of the rounds.
But Askin raised the tempo again to take the seventh, then in the next stanza went all out for a stoppage which duly came after a vicious final assault.
Askin, rated second in the national rankings, is looking forward to a title shot which must be imminent.
He found Edwards an awkward and durable opponent and damaged his right hand in the early exchanges, which explained why he made so much very effective use of left jab to the head and left hook to the body.
The influence of trainer Michael Jennings, a former British title holder and world title challenger, is already showing in Askin’s improved range of punches and his general technique.
Another Fylde prospect, Kirkham’s Adam Little, returned to the ring after almost two years with a clear and well-earned victory over Newcastle’s tall, stylish George Watson over six three-minute rounds.
Little won every round but Watson used his excellent jab effectively.
The 23-year-old Little also worked his jab well, while also targeting the body with success in one of the undercard’s best match-ups.
And although Little kept the upper hand for a ninth straight pro victory, this was a very entertaining contest between two good technicians.
After such a long lay-off with a hand injury, Little could have ben excused for asking for an easier comeback bout but he stressed afterwards that he needed a testing opponent and felt Watson was ideal. The likeable, sensible Kirkham lad has his feet firmly on he ground and is happy to be back in the mix and learning his trade again.
On the undercard, Preston’s Mick Hall took on an opponent familiar to Blackpool fight fans, Max Maxwell, over four three-minute rounds.
Hall took a comfortable 40-27 verdict in a good learning fight against Maxwell, who previously defeated world title challenger Brian Rose.