Tyson Fury moved a step closer to a shot at Vitali Klitschko with a patient victory over American Kevin Johnson in Belfast.
The 24-year-old won the WBC world heavyweight title eliminator by a unanimous points decision, stretching his unbeaten record to 20 fights.
The first five rounds were largely uninspiring, although Fury was rarely troubled by his durable 33-year-old opponent, whose 2009 defeat to Klitschko was one of only two defeats prior to this bout.
Fury looked more convincing in the sixth round but he had a point docked in the seventh and was not making a notable impact on a slow-paced bout.
He made more of an impression with a combination in the eighth which saw the Wythenshawe-born fighter raise both arms aloft.
Although he was rarely troubled in tonight's contest, Fury's cautious approach was in stark contrast to several of his previous bouts.
Afterwards, Fury revealed the tactics were planned as he said: "Credit Kevin Johnson, he's a slippery, slippery guy and I never went in to knock him out.
"He's not a guy to go and smash up. He's a world class fighter. I boxed to a game plan and vowed not to let my heart get the better of me."
Johnson added: "They stuck to a very smart game plan. Not one time did he come out with that anger and aggression and towards the end it got very boring."