Dillian Whyte claimed a split decision victory over Dereck Chisora to set-up a potential clash with WBC champion Deontay Wilder following a thrilling clash in Manchester. The judges scored the bout 115-114, 115-114 and 114-115 in the 28-year-old's favour but either man could have walked away with victory amid an exhilarating contest which matched the explosive build-up.
Neither man had covered themselves in glory in the build-up to the fight yet they showed courage and fortitude during 12 rounds of classic heavyweight boxing. Chisora played the role of the main aggressor and had Whyte rocking in rounds five and six, before the latter's physical dominance came to the fore.
Whyte almost had the final say in each of the last two rounds as Chisora began to flag badly. The Body Snatcher's late salvo eventually proved to be the difference as he edged the contest by a single round on two of the judges' scorecards but Chisora emerges from the fight with immense credit and almost certainly assured of a rematch in 2017.
Since Chisora launched a table in the direction of Whyte during their pre-fight press conference - which had thrown the fight into serious doubt - both fighters had been kept apart, being forced to weigh-in separately on the eve of their much-anticipated clash. Though the contest was no longer for the British heavyweight title the status as the number one contender for Wilder's WBC belt remained up for grabs, not least bragging rights after a controversial build-up.
After all the pre-fight fireworks, somewhat typically the contest failed to ignite in the opening exchanges. Chisora surprisingly played the role of main protagonist and come the fifth round he began to have regular success with a pair of left hands leaving Whyte on the ropes.
The Zimbabwean appeared to have punched himself off his feet however as Whyte fought back and had Chisora wobbling later in the round and then in the sixth as the tide turned in dramatic fashion. Both fighters appeared off their feet as the contest reached the second half with thrilling exchanges at the end of the seventh and eighth round underpinning an entertaining contest.
Chisora had built a reputation as a passive competitor during his 32-fight professional career yet he continued his barrage of shots to which Whyte initially had little answer. The Brixton man possessed the greater structure and looked physically the stronger in the closing stages as Chisora appeared increasingly exhausted.
Heading into the final round, and with ringside scorecards among the spectators unable to split the pair Whyte claimed a knockdown as Chisora slipped to the canvass. Both men almost clinched knockouts inside the final 90 seconds but both survived until the final bell of an exhilarating bout. The judges eventually sided with the skill of Whyte, to propel him towards world championship contention once again.
Kal Yafai became Britain's 14th reigning world champion after claiming the vacant WBA super-flyweight championship following a routine points victory over Luis Concepcion. The Birmingham boxer won his maiden world title via a unanimous decision as Concepcion - who was stripped of the belt after failing to make the weight 24 hours before the bout - was dominated from the outset.
"It's unbelievable, it's going to take a while to sink in," the 27-year-old told Sky Sorts after maintaining his unbeaten record with a 21st career win. "I knew I was going to do it, it was just a matter of how. I just did what I needed to do, got through it. I still feel that I have a lot more in me and plenty more to give, this win will take me up to another level now.
"I always knew I was capable of a win like that. I really didn't think he was that great in there, I felt from round one that I was winning he rounds comfortably, doing what I needed to do and making sure that I had plenty in the tank in the championship rounds."
Elsewhere, there were wins for Callum Smith who stopped Luke Blackledge, Katie Taylor on her second professional appearance against Viviane Obenauf and Scott Quigg on his return to the ring. The Bury-born boxer had not fought since suffering broken jaw in defeat to Carl Frampton in February but overcame Jose Cayetano with a ninth round knock-out in his first bout since moving up to featherweight.