Anthony Joshua retained his WBA and IBF heavyweight titles despite suffering a suspected broken nose during the early stages of a 10th-round stoppage win over a bloodied Carlos Takam in Cardiff.
Joshua's flawless professional record now stands at 20 victories and as many knockouts, but this was not a display to stand alongside his statement triumph over the great Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley in April.
An accidental clash of heads in round two left the 28-year-old Briton mopping blood from his nose and mouth - Joshua claimed the nose was broken in his post-fight interview - and Takam felt his wrath two sessions later when a short left hook dropped him to the canvas.
From that point, the Cameroon-born Frenchman, a late replacement at 12 days' notice for injured IBF mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, found himself on the receiving end of sustained punishment.
The 36-year-old, whose professional record slips to 35 wins, four defeats and a draw, responded with a display of incredible bravery and appeared to inconvenience Joshua with a pair of overhand rights in round seven.
It was sluggish stuff at times from Joshua after the 2012 Olympic gold medallist tipped the scales at a career-high 18st 2lbs but a barrage of head shots persuaded referee Phil Edwards to spare Takam - prematurely in the view of many in the 75,000 sell-out crowd - after one minute and 34 seconds of the 10th.