Anthony Joshua returned to winning ways with a unanimous points victory over Jermaine Franklin at London’s O2 Arena.
The British heavyweight, 33, controlled the contest against the durable American but it was not the explosive early finish many expected.
Two judges scored it 117-111 and one 118-111 to Joshua.
Tempers flared after the final bell as the two fighters squared up to each other, prompting their teams to enter the ring and be separated by security.
It is Joshua’s first win in more than two years, having lost consecutive bouts to Oleksandr Usyk.
“It was important to win. Jermaine has a good duck-and-dive style, somebody else from Britain will probably knock him out,” Joshua said.
“I respect him, he did well. I should have knocked him out but it is done. On to the next. He is here to prove himself, not roll over. I wish I could have knocked him out.”
Joshua has now won 25 fights, with 22 stoppages, and lost three since turning professional in 2013.
It is a second defeat for Franklin, 29, having lost to Briton Dillian Whyte in November.
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