Kevin Mitchell dominated Amir Khan's conqueror Breidis Prescott over 12 rounds on the undercard of the Khan-Salita fight to send out an emphatic message about his own world title credentials.
Mitchell scored a 119-110, 118-111, 117-111 points win over Prescott, who had hammered Khan to a shocking 54-second defeat in Manchester in September last year in his previous visit to Britain.
The Dagenham fighter's performance earned great praise from promoter Frank Warren. "He did it in great style," Warren said. "If David Haye won a title against [Nikolay] Valuev, who I don't think even has the class or the skill of Prescott or the danger of Prescott, Kevin's performance is 10 times better.
"What he did against a big puncher, a known puncher, he went in there and absolutely broke his heart, gave him a boxing lesson."
Mitchell is now in line for a world title shot after a fight which served as an eliminator for the WBO lightweight crown. That this was his first fight at the higher weight limit against an opponent to whom he conceded at least four inches spoke volumes for the talent of the Londoner. It will undoubtedly raise the prospect of a potential super-fight between Mitchell and Khan somewhere down the road – a fight Mitchell wants badly.
The 25-year-old started with understandable caution in his first fight at lightweight, standing off the much taller Prescott and going one better than Khan by ending the first round unscathed. With the Colombian clearly hunting all out for another knockout blow, Mitchell was able to score consistently with counters, and emerged unscathed from Prescott's first two big right hands.
Mitchell, with his unerring accuracy, was making the Colombian look crude, and when Prescott did land, as with an overhand right towards the end of the third, Mitchell remained unflustered. His increasingly purposeful assaults opened a bad cut in the corner of Prescott's left eye in the fifth, and Mitchell responded a little prematurely by raising an arm in mock victory. Prescott's response was a furious assault which reminded Mitchell of the dangers of losing concentration, but as the fight moved deeper into its second-half, Prescott looked to be tiring fast.
The Londoner boxed an excellent tactical fight, yet courted too much danger in the 11th, allowing Prescott to connect with a couple of left hands, but Mitchell responded with a right uppercut before sailing home.
Rookies James DeGale, Frankie Gavin and Billy Joe Saunders came through their fifth professional contests with victories although all three were made to work hard for them.
DeGale needed a four-round points decision to beat Nathan King, Gavin stopped decent Frenchman Samir Tergaoui in the sixth and Saunders was taken all six rounds by Yorkshireman Lee Noble.