Linus Udofia reigned supreme to win the English middleweight title at York Hall on Saturday night.
In a heart-stopping encounter he overcame West Midlands fighter Tyler Denny (12-1-2) with a majority decision that had Luton fans and even neutrals on their feet.
“I’m on top of the world, I don’t think it’s sunk in yet,” said Udofia (15-0).
“I think it was a close fight, but I got the result and that’s all that matters.”
The Rowley Regis’ fighter’s record did not suggest a hard-hitting middleweight, but he was every inch a puncher as he gave Udofia the hardest night of his career so far.
The early rounds followed a pattern of early Denny pressure, followed by his Luton opponent finding his range and chopping shots to the body.
In the fourth, Udofia was landing the crisper shots but his opposite number was more active and seemed to be boxing intelligently to take rounds.
The fifth caught fire when Denny rocked Udofia with two head shots, but the former Hockwell Ring fighter stood tall and responded by nailing Denny to the ropes and opening up with some combinations upstairs and down.
It appeared that the midlands fighter would tire as he seemed to cover up and hold, allowing Udofia to land at will and pile on the pressure.
In fact, it was Udofia who began to tire as Denny grew in confidence boxing cleverly to try and catch the judge’s eye.
In the ninth round the fight took yet another twist as Udofia wobbled his foe several times, but Denny held on as the final round approached.
The final three minutes was a barnburner with the Luton fighter again taking some huge shots but showing his mettle and continuing to search for angles to hit the retreating Denny.
It was by far the most mature performance to date from the Luton fighter, who was taken into the trenches at times but showed he has championship quality when the pressure mounts.
Judge Ian-John Lewis called the fight a draw (95-95), while his colleagues disagreed and awarded the fight to Udofia with scores of 96-94 and 97-94 respectively.