Jamie Moore was forced to dig deep to defend his British light middleweight title against Andrew Facey in Wigan.
The Salford southpaw's greater power and experience told as he floored Facey three times before the referee stopped the contest in the 11th round.
Moore had not fought since April after being laid low by a virus and made a cautious start as Facey started well.
But Moore got stronger and knocked down Facey in the sixth and ninth before endeding the fight in the 11th.
The win kept Moore on course for his mandatory crack at the European title.
"I was very rusty, very rusty, and you can't afford that against someone as elusive and evasive as Andrew Facey," said Moore.
"But I got through, I stuck it out. I had to show my heart again, which I was hoping I wouldn't have to.
"I proved I'm more than capable of beating people at British level and roll on the Europeans."