Blackpool's Jack Arnfield warmed up for his upcoming British middleweight title fight with champion Tommy Langford as he registered win number 25 of his career.
But any thoughts that he was in for a straightforward night against Adam Jones at the BT Convention Centre in Liverpool were quickly dispelled in this always competitive, six-rounder.
Arnfield's Yorkshire rival belied his poor record on paper to put up a game show.
There was no question of a points shut-out as Arnfield was given the verdict by 58-56 by Fleetwood referee Steve Gray.
It was easy to see why the durable Jones had never been knocked out and he was not afraid to mix it.
Arnfield was at his best when he kept it at range with his effective jab, but up close there were times when Jones gave as good as he got.
There were some close rounds, though by the finish there was no doubt that Arnfield had won in his first contest since beating Brian Rose at the Manchester Arena in March.
Arnfield, the reigning World Boxing Association international middleweight champion, was seen to particular good effect in the third as he peppered his rivals with solid combinations, but he could never completely dominate his opponent, who was never discouraged.
Arnfield's best round was probably the sixth and last as an accurate left hook seemed to stun Jones momentarily, but within a split-second he had recovered his composure.
This contest was billed as a super-middleweight bout, with Arnfield weighing an ounce over 11st-12lb and Jones heavier at 12-4. Arnfield is used to boxing much lighter men.
Arnfield is due to have his second challenge for the British middleweight title in the New Year, with the Winter Gardens in Blackpool the most likely venue.
Next up for Arnfield, though, is a delayed honeymoon in South Africa and Mauritius with his wife Laura, whom he married earlier in the year.
Indeed, he had been due to box later on in the evening in Liverpool, but his bout with Jones was brought forward to earlier on the bill to facilitate his travel plans.