Lucas Browne made heavy weather of it as the big-hitting Australian laboured to victory over late replacement Julius Long in a stay-busy fight.
The 36 year-old, who is the number one contender to current WBA heavyweight title holder Ruslan Chagaev, struggled to get going in what seemed to be a clear case of a lack of motivation coupled with a hand injury.
Browne seemed to have hurt his right hand in the fight and may well have been behind on the scorecards at the halfway point, but ‘Bid Daddy’ came back stronger in the final few rounds and eventually grinded the 7ft 1ins American down to improve to 23-0.
Long was gassed by the eighth round and duly dropped before Browne piled on the pressure in the ninth to force a 20th career knockout that seemed to be out of the question early in the fight.
Despite the triumph, Browne still faces a further wait to finally get his world title chance as Chagaev still has to arrange a rematch with Fres Oquendo following a US court’s decision to order a rematch due to a purse row.
Also on the bill, Jai Opetaia made it two wins from two since turning pro with a first round stoppage win over Rob Manual, whilst Will Tomlinson scored a split decision points victory over Adones Aguelo 95-95, 97-93 and 97-94.