Tomi Tatham was just seconds away from ending 2015 with a knockout victory.
Having dominated Curtis Gargano from the opening bell the Lancaster light-heavyweight felled the durable but limited Manchester man in the final round at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool on Saturday night.
Taking a count, Gargano was only saved from further punishment by the final bell as Tatham moved to 10-1 as a professional with a 60-53 points win after six one-sided rounds.
The 26-year-old, known as TNT, said: “He finally gave it a bit of a go in the last round.
“It meant I could get through with a few of my own and he took a knee.
“He got back up and I went in to finish him but he was holding on for dear life.
“If I’d have had five more seconds it would have been a knockout.
“I was a bit gutted not to get the stoppage but it was a comfortable points win.”
The former Skerton ABC fighter hopes the Gargano victory is the final fight of his apprenticeship.
Defeat to Lee Duncan at the tail end of 2013, coupled with a hand injury picked up ahead of the fight, stalled the heavy-hitter’s progress but now Tatham feels he is ready to move onto title fights.
He said: “It was good to end the year with a win.
“I wasn’t so pleased with the opponent but you can only beat what’s in front of you.
“This was another learning fight though and I learned to keep cool and keep calm.
“When I was last in that venue (against Lee Duncan in November 2013) I lost for the first time because I didn’t keep my cool.
“I just want to move on now and get the bigger fights.
“I’m not getting younger and hopefully now I’m ready for them.
“It’s about Steve (Wood, manager) and Karl (Ince, trainer) agreeing with me so we can move onto titles.”
Tatham, roared on by 130 fans at the Winter Gardens, looks set to fight for a Challenge belt in his next fight, possibly March.
The Bentham bruiser would like to thank all his sponsors and supporters for their backing in 2015.