Anthony Crolla came away victorious as he edged out domestic rival Ricky Burns by unanimous decision in their lightweight bout.
Both fighters came into the fight on the back of defeats, with Crolla losing back-to-back WBA title fights with Venezuela's Jorge Linares while Burns surrendered his WBA light-welterweight belt to Namibian Julius Indongo in April, but produced an absorbing battle at Manchester Arena.
Crolla was the brighter of the two fighters in the early exchanges but 34-year-old Burns worked his way into the bout as they counter-punched each other throughout the 12 rounds in a engaging tactical contest which could have gone either way.
But all three judges called the bout in Crolla's favour with the scores of 116-113, 117-112, 116-114 to inflict the Scot's seventh defeat of his professional career.
The fight began slowly as both men worked on the jab in the opening two rounds before the Englishman found more of his range with two right hooks to Burns' body to edge the third.
The Scot started to go on the front foot from the fourth round but struggled to land his left hook as Crolla maintained a staunch defence whilst still connecting with counter jab.
Neither could be separated in the next two rounds with both fighters showing sparks of authority in a tight affair before Burns finally found the overarm right, which brought blood to the nose of the Mancunian.
A burst from the 30-year-old, a regular feature throughout the contest, looked to have edged the eighth but Burns hit back with a left jab that connected on the nose of Crolla in the next, before they continued the final three rounds in counter-punching fashion.
The Englishman believed he did enough to extend his record to 32 wins from his 41 professional fights and is targeting another world title shot.
He told Sky Sports action: "Yeah I thought I'd definitely done enough. He just kept coming. He gave me a very tough fight, but I thought my quality shots won it.
"I owe these people another world title, the way they get behind me, it's nothing but love."
However, Burns disagreed with the judges' decision, he said: "Although it was close, I thought I did enough to edge it. I thought I landed the cleaner shots. In my eyes, I thought I just edged it."
There'll be an emotional return to Manchester Arena for Anthony Crolla and his family this weekend.
The former world lightweight champion takes on Scotland's Ricky Burns and he'll be cheered on by his teenage cousin Leah.
She was caught in the blast in the terrorist attack there in May and will return there for the first time on Saturday.
Anthony Crolla turned down opportunities to fight in Las Vegas and Monaco in favour of a return to Manchester Arena.
Crolla will meet Scotland's Ricky Burns in a lightweight contest on October 7th as he attempts to secure another world title shot.
He told Granada Reports it was important to return to the arena for one of the venue's first events since May's terrorist attack.
Manchester boxer Anthony Crolla says he'll be a stronger fighter in his rematch with Jorge Linares tonight.Read the full story ›
Anthony Crolla is one of the nicest people you will ever meet.
But the Manchester boxer has turned to his dark side in the build up to his world title rematch with Jorge Linares.
Crolla lost his WBA Lightweight title to the Venezuelan in his home city last September.
He returns to the arena tomorrow night looking for revenge.
And as Chris Hall reports this time there's no more Mr Nice Guy.
Anthony Crolla is confident the support of Manchester can carry him to victory over Jorge Linares on Saturday night.Read the full story ›
Trainer Joe Gallagher had some stern words for fans of Anthony Crolla at this afternoon's press conference for the Manchester boxer's forthcoming rematch with Jorge Linares.
Anthony's long serving trainer warned friends and fans to stay away from the fighter and told them to stop asking him for tickets. The 48 year-old says he needs Crolla to be completely focussed on fight.
Crolla lost to Linares at the Manchester Arena last year. They'll now meet each other in the same venue once again. The WBA, WBC Diamond and Ring Magazine world lightweight belts will be up for grabs.
Crolla, who's from Moston, is a keen Manchester United fan, but his trainer warned that he may have to skip some matches if he wants to make the most of this second chance against the Venezuelan.
It appeared to come as a bit of a surprise to the man himself.
There's a name change going on the St Etienne trip for the United game if anyone wants it!
Manchester boxer Anthony Crolla is set for a March re-match with Jorge Linares.Read the full story ›
He's already got one world title to his name but tomorrow night Anthony Crolla could add more belts to his collections and become the best lightweight boxer on the planet.
He's fighting in his home city of Manchester against Jorge Linares.
Victory would move him up to another level in the sport and also out of the shadow of Manchester's greatest ever boxer.
As Mike Hall explains.
Ricky Hatton has given his backing to Anthony Crolla, as he seeks to unify his division, and become the greatest lightweight boxer in the world.
Crolla, who's from New Moston, fights Jorge Linares at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night. The 29-year-old has said that he'd love to emulate the great nights that the 'Hitman Hatton' had in the city's famous arena.
Hatton, who is now a trainer and boxing promoter says that despite maybe being 'too nice' to be a boxer, Crolla has what it takes to succeed.
The bout will also see the Ring Magazine Lightweight champion belt be put at stake. Anthony Crolla could become the first Englishman to win the belt at that weight.
Ricky Hatton explains why Ring Magazine belts mean so much in the boxing world.