Nathan Cleverly won his fight on a points victory over late replacement Nadjib Mohammedi.
The unanimous decision was enough to give the Clev the interim WBO light-heavyweight title.
Cleverly came into the fight expecting to make short work of the Frenchman, who came in for Alejandro Lakatos who withdrew earlier in the week.
However, Mohammedi proved very elusive early on and the youngster let his frustration get the better of him, allowing his opponent a way into a contest he should have been able to close out.
Mohammedi was happy to stay out of range as Cleverly tried to tag his man from a distance, but any success was muted by the swinging and swaying of his opponent.
The Frenchman was making Cleverly miss on numerous occasions and scored only rarely himself, the former British, Commonwealth and European champion grazing his chin with big right hands in the third and fourth.
But the home fighter got careless in the fifth, missing with a big left and getting caught with a similar shot himself as Mohammedi started to gain confidence. And as the Frenchman got more adventourous, so the fight opened up as the pair slugged it out at close quarters in the sixth – arguably the first to the underdog.
The seventh was clearly to the Frenchman, who landed with two sharp left hands that had Cleverly backed up on the ropes, while the Welshman was also docked a point for persistent use of the head.
The performance earned Cleverly a stinging rebuke from cornerman Dean Powell and Cleverly answered positively in the eighth, body shots and upper cuts raining in after Mohammedi had an early success with a succession of right hands swings.
Mohammedi came forward a lot more in the ninth as he sensed a shock win, but Cleverly has come too far, too soon to let it all slip now, and he dug deep to take the last three rounds with his superior workrate, landing with some big shots that nevertheless failed to move the Frenchman.
Cleverly was booed by sections of the Liverpool Echo Arena as scores of 116-111, 115-113 and 115-112 came through, but that is only a measure of boxing fans’ expectations of the man from Cefn Forest.
And Cleverly could be the outright champion come Monday, when reigning champion Juergen Braehmer faces the prospect of a prison sentence for assault.