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."
|Man United & Real Madrid talk not affecting Milinkovic-Savic|
|Out-of-contract Ruiz focused on Costa Rica|
|Southgate will not bombard England with last-minute instructions|
|Muller: Germany under extreme pressure|
|Rangers score four runs in ninth to pick up walk-off win over Rockies|
|U.S. Open champion Koepka happy to continue being ´overlooked´|
|Pogba: I´m the most criticised player in the world|
|Maradona: Sampaoli´s game plan against Iceland was a disgrace|
|De Gea will bounce back from error – Marchena|
|Slater named for Maroons return|
|Woods, Faldo, Harrington and Koepka – U.S. Open champion joins fine club after successful defence|
|Fleetwood positive despite falling short at U.S. Open|
|Jesus: I had no reason to play for a penalty|
|Hernandez admits to exaggerating fouls against Australia|
|Koepka says winning two U.S. Opens not even in his ´wildest dreams´|
|Hernandez: Griezmann an idol at Atletico|
|Sri Lanka take charge despite Gabriel exploits|
|U.S. Open final-round timeline: How clinical Koepka kept his crown|
|Koepka fights off challengers to successfully defend U.S. Open title|
|´Aching´ Neymar urges referees to intervene|
|BREAKING NEWS: Koepka holds on to defend U.S. Open title|
|Lozano goal causes artificial earthquake in Mexico|
|Djokovic: Mental battle will be Murray´s biggest|
|Hummels criticises Germany tactics in Mexico loss|
|Brazil the latest favourites to stumble, but Tite and Neymar won´t panic|
|Magnificent Fleetwood matches U.S. Open record with closing 63|
|Brazil 1 Switzerland 1: Zuber pegs back below-par Selecao|
|Warrington hold off Wakefield fightback, Tigers held despite Hitchcox heroics|
|Germany follow trend of poor starts for World Cup champions|
|Reed on the charge as U.S. Open race hots up|
|Milinkovic-Savic can play for any team in Europe, says Crespo|
|Southgate keen to unleash his bold new England|
|Konta fumes as Barty takes Nottingham title|
|Kante hails Pogba´s match-winning contribution|
|Germany struggle with generation gap|
|Neymar to make first competitive start since February in Brazil´s World Cup opener|
|Kane gunning for Ronaldo hat-trick heroics in England opener|
|Balotelli would fit in at Marseille - Raiola|
|Captain Ki happy to get tough on South Korea|
|Senegal call up Mbengue with Ciss ruled out|
|Mickelson celebrates at scene of Saturday meltdown|
|Germany 0 Mexico 1: Lozano stuns woeful reigning champions|
|Chandimal to face hearing after pleading not guilty to ball tampering|
|Griezmann ´must do more´, says Deschamps|
|Gasquet shows his class on grass to end Chardy´s chances|
|Courtois: Belgium outsiders not World Cup favourites|
|You can´t compare Ronaldo and Messi – Adrien Silva|
|Kiwis name seven uncapped players for England Test|
|Lorenzo tells critics: Remember MotoGP wins next time I struggle|
|Maaloul singles out ´future of English football´ Alli as main threat|
|Poland v Senegal: Nawalka waits on Glik|
|All Blacks draft in Riccitelli and Hemopo, Barrett not risked for third Test|
|Palermo to appeal play-off result after ´illegal game´|
|Once a year is not enough! - Alonso loved Le Mans bow|
|Colombia v Japan: Kawashima eager to right the wrongs of 2014|
|Russia v Egypt: Salah poised to derail hosts´ juggernaut|
|South Korea swapping kit numbers to confuse Sweden|
|Neuer, Ozil start for Germany in World Cup opener|
|Costa Rica and Serbia serve up plenty of the spectacular in sunny Samara|
|Alonso edges closer to ´Triple Crown´ with Le Mans glory|
|Costa Rica 0 Serbia 1: Kolarov stunner seals points|
|Belgium are better than Argentina – Gomez and Panama ignoring Iceland result|
|Messi, Ronaldo or Neymar would keep the goal - Evra defends Pogba|
|Two in a row for dominant Lorenzo in Barcelona|
|Maradona denies racism claim|
|Resilient Krunic breaks Tour duck|
|Federer wins Stuttgart Open on his return|
|Injured Vunipola to miss England´s series finale in South Africa|
|Ibrahimovic not involved in Sweden´s World Cup plans, insists Andersson|
|Sri Lanka captain Chandimal charged with ball tampering|