Wales' Nathan Cleverly successfully retained the WBO light heavyweight title Saturday night, outpointing hometown favorite Tony Bellew.
Cleverly received winning scores of 117-112 and 116-113 from two judges and the other scored it 114-114.
The Welshman improved to 23-0.
''I knew he would be dangerous in the first three rounds, but in all honesty I thought he'd tire more,'' Cleverly told Box Nation TV. ''But he held in there and showed he is a brilliant challenger. He's very fit.''
Bellew (16-1) was warned early on by referee Richie Davies after appearing to aim a headbutt at Cleverly.
Bellew was winded by a low blow in the fifth round for which he was given time to recover by the referee, but no point was taken from Cleverly who continued to enjoy more success with his work up close.
Cleverly reasserted his control in a busy sixth round, clipping home a series of uppercuts before landing a looping left hook which appeared to temporarily stun Bellew. A super seventh round saw Cleverly begin to open up, snapping back Bellew's head as the challenger appeared to start to tire.
Despite walking onto another stiff uppercut early in the eighth, Bellew had a good round, knocking Cleverly out of his rhythm with a sharp left.
With a crashing right hand, Bellew landed the significant shot of round 10, but Cleverly responded sharply in the 11th with a pair of uppercuts and a nice left hook before a tight finale.
Cleverly's win was greeted by jeers in Bellew's native Liverpool.
''I'm just devastated,'' Bellew said. ''I've got my two kids and I can only apologize to them.''