Coatsbridge's Ricky Burns continued his campaign at lightweight last evening, posting a hard fought points verdict over Paulus Moses at Braehead Arena in Glasgow, Scotland.
At stake was Burns' Interim WBO belt, which the gritty 28 year old won by outfighting big-hitting Aussie Michael Katisids last November in London.
Former WBA king Moses had retooled his career following a world title loss to Miguel Acosta two years ago, stringing together three straight victories in his native Windhoek, Namibia.
Moses looked to establish right away that he had come to Glasgow intent on nothing less than ripping the WBO belt from Burns as the African stalked the local man but could not pin down the champion as Burns showed fast hands and quick feet to deliver an early boxing lesson.
But the hard as nails Namibian wasn't impressed and started to push his way forward, forcing the champion on the back foot with a two-handed assault.
Burns regained momentum by using angles to blunt the efforts of his rival and lashing Moses with sweet combinations that were interrupted on occasion by jolting single shots from the challenger.
The pressure tactics of Moses began to pay off in the ninth when Burns started to tire from the constant movement and had to stand and fight but the Scotsman proved he could take whatever Moses could dish out.
Ahead on the cards, Burns generally coasted through the final frames, avoiding the trench-fighting intentions of Moses to sweep the decision 120-110, 119-110 and 117-111.
Burns improves to 34-2 (9) while Moses drops to 28-2 (19).
Having now gotten past number four ranked WBO contender Moses, Burns could face the number two ranked Kevin Mitchell of England in what would be a massive occasion in the UK, although another big domestic clash, against European titlist Gavin Rees of Wales, ranked at number 14, could come first.
The undercard at Braehead featured South Queensferry super feather Paul Appleby, 18-3 (11), returning from a losing Commonwealth title effort to capture the vacant Celtic crown in a tough bout against previously undefeated New York based Irishman Stephen Ormond, 11-1 (5), by narrow margins of 96-95, 96-94 and 96-94.