At times he had to dig deep, but Caoimhin Agyarko ultimately outclassed a marauding bull in Troy Williamson to claim the vacant WBA Continental light-middleweight title by way of a split decision (98-92, 97-93, 94-96).
'Black Thunder' opened like a whirlwind, stinging the visitor in the first and then enjoyed a good second, but withstood a charge in the net couple of rounds before getting back on top.
It was a close battle for much of the second half of the fight with Agyarko just doing the bit more eye-catching work off the back foot against Williamson who pressed throughout, but it was the Belfast man who enjoyed a fantastic final round and ended like he began, stinging Williamson to seal it and move to 14-0.
Williamson had promised to set a high pace from the off, but it was Agyarko much quicker with a snappy double jab peppering the Darlington man who was unable to get much going in the first and then when stepping in, ate a big right from Agyarko that clearly stiffened the legs.
𝕭𝖑𝖆𝖈𝖐 𝕿𝖍𝖚𝖓𝖉𝖊𝖗 🌩️@caoimhinagyarko moves a step towards challenging for World Honours with a split decision win over Troy Williamson 👏👏— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) December 2, 2023
📝 98-92, 97-93, 94-96#AgyarkoWilliamson #ConlanGill pic.twitter.com/IEa7CO9G5y
The visitor seemed stung into action and began popping his own jab, but Agyarko again pushed him back although was given fair warning when caught to the top of the head with a right that would force him into retreat.
It was an engrossing contest through three with Agyarko slick but Williamson clearly dangerous with his right hand and drove on in the fourth, winging meaty hooks to head and body.
Agyarko was enjoying his own success, the left jab a great weapon in the fifth to set up right hands but they were bouncing off the visitor who remained keen to land his own hooks.
Each round was competitive and the patter remained as we went into the second half with Williamson opening well with the jab, Agyarko responding in kind and then with a couple of rights, only for the Englishman to get through with one of his own.
The roads now appeared like they may come down to the small moments with Williamson pressing and Agyarko looking to counter, but those extra pieces of quality were coming from the Belfast man who scored with a crisp right in seven.
Both were digging in, the action getting a little scrappy at times as they gritted their teeth with Agyarko's movement keeping him out of danger for the most part, yet Williamson kept coming with everything thrown with menacing intent.
Going into the 10th, there was a sense that Agyarko was just producing enough moments to bank the rounds and Agyarko initially tried to play matador, but landed a one-two that had Williamson in trouble.
The Turf Lodge man went for the highlight-reel finish, but it wasn't on and instead soaked in the final few seconds safe in the knowledge he had secured the big win that can see him march on.