British middleweight Martin Murray looks set for a 2015 showdown with WBA champion Gennady Golovkin after a technical decision victory over Domenico Spada in the principality.
The St Helens fighter, who has twice come up short in world title fights, was well ahead on the cards when the fight was stopped midway through the seventh round, with the referee ruling Spada could not continue because of a headbutt sustained earlier in the bout.
Despite Spada leading with his head for large sections of the fight, it was the Italian who was cut above his eye in the third round, which surprisingly led to Murray being deducted a point.
Yet that failed to disrupt Murray, who won by scores of 67-66, 68-63 and 69-67.
The 32-year-old (29-1-1, 12KOs), who drew with Felix Sturm for the WBA title in 2011 and lost a tight decision to Sergio Martinez for the WBC strap in Argentina last year, will be hoping to make it third time lucky against the unbeaten Golovkin with the two combatants expected to face each other in Monte Carlo in February.