KIRK Goodings retained his English lightweight title by stopping neighbour and arch-rival Gary Fox in Newcastle.
The Sunderland champion wore down the Fishburn and Hartlepool fighter as contest progressed and after landing a series of head shots, referee Marcus McDonnell stepped in to call a halt in round eight.
It was the maiden defence of the belt he won in another North-East derby back in October, when he outfought and outboxed Middlesbrough’s Paul Truscott.
His manager and promoter, Phil Jeffries, may want another English match before moving him forward towards a British but the 24-year-old is undoubtedly heading inthat direction.
Goodings had been promised a war by Fox and the South Durham fighter seemed to be a man of his word as he set off in determined fashiom.
Fox pushed the champ back in the first couple of rounds and it looked a sthough it would not be a straight-forward evening for Goodings.
However, while Fox continued to go on the attack and Goodings was on the back foot, the Wearsider did the sharper punching and had the edge in rounds three and four.
The fifth was a scrappy three minutes but, again, while the 28-year-old challenger ploughed forward, the sixth and seventh were both taken by Goodings.
But round eight proved the watershed, Goodings landing head shot after headshot.
This time Fox did not come forward and on two minutes, 34 seconds, Mr McDonnell intervened.
Goodings celebrated but soon consoled Fox, applauding his rival at the end of one of the most entertaining bouts of the night at the Metro Radio Arena.