Glenn Foot is “back in business”.
But victory in the 10-round Sunderland war spelled the end for friend-turned-enemy-turned-friend Kirk Goodings.
Foot had claimed there was no pressure on him in the red and white derby taking place in black and white territory in Dunston on Saturday night.
It was a must-win fight – had Foot suffered back-to-back defeats it would have been a long road back.
But the 28-year-old clinched a 97-94 points victory in the brutal battle at the Lancastrian Suite to move him instantly back into title contention.
And the Marley Pots warrior now plans to do his fighting in the light-welter division following his defeat in his British and Commonwealth welterweight double header against Sam Eggington.
Foot wasted no time in calling out two of his North-East neighbours, Isaac Macleod and Bradley Saunders, plus Commonwealth champ John Wayne Hibbert.
Poor Macleod. Foot offered his fists while the young prospect was about to step towards the ring for his bout against Santos Medrano.
Foot is a true fighting man and Sunderland should be proud to have him in their corner, but he owes his city neighbour an apology for that.
Perhaps the adrenaline was still running high after the no-holds-barred win over Goodings.
A second Sunderland derby with Macleod is unlikely and a ruck with Saunders, from Sedgefield, even less likely after the former Olympian’s title hopes were shattered by two badly-damaged hands and a defeat by disqualification in Liverpool on the same night.
But a confrontation with Hibbert looks very appealing and perhaps promoter and manager Phil Jeffries can make it happen.
“I’m going to be campaigning at light-welter now,” said Foot.
“There are a few lads out there I’d love to get it on with, especially John Wayne Hibbert.
“I’m back in business and I’ve proved that.”
He certainly did. The build-up to the showdown with Goodings was spicy to say the least and that was carried into the fight on Saturday night.
Goodings had dismissed Foot as “one-dimensional” while the former Prizefighter champ claimed his rival would “run like a thief” in the contest.
As it was, Goodings did not run, he stood and fought, but relentless Foot had the edge from the start with some ferocious attacks.
Goodings went southpaw in the third and had a good round and had some success in the fourth and fifth too.
But Foot turned up the heat in the sixth with some good close-quarter work, with Goodings missing with many of his shots.
Foot worked away to the body in round seven and while Goodings got through with one good left to the body, the aggression of Glenn was taking the contest his way.
Remarkably, the jab was a tool used in the eighth from Foot, but Goodings delivered two cracking rights to the head of his rival to remind him he was still in contention.
But Foot almost took Goodings in half in the ninth.
Lesser men would have folded and Kirk was forced to hold on for dear life, yet he recovered and ended the session beckoning Glen forward.
Foot attacked the Goodings body again in the last, but the man with “Bulletproof” emblazoned on his shorts refused to go down.
The capacity crowd gave a standing ovation at the end and it was nice to see peace restored with the combatants hugging each other before the result was announced.
It was Foot’s night but for Goodings, it was time to say farewell.
“This is the only fight that motivated me to get back in the ring,” said the 26-year-old Wearsider.
“I’d like to thank Glenn for the fight, I have a lot of respect for him.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their support.”
l Thomas Essomba warmed up for next month’s Commonwealth super-flyweight title challenge with a 40-35 points win over Mikheil Soloninkini.
The Georgian may have had a fancy hair cut but underneath his head proved ultra-tough as he survived some heavy shots from the two-time Olympian to go the four rounds.
Sunderland-based Essomba will now meet Waleed Din at Rotherham on Saturday, October 17 for the vacant Commonwealth belt.