Wales' Lee Selby (27-2) fought on with cuts above both eyes to beat Omar Douglas (19-3) in his first bout at lightweight. Selby, 32, moved up two weight divisions after losing his IBF world featherweight title to Josh Warrington in May and ground out a points win against the American.
Head clashes in the second and seventh rounds posed problems for the Barry Island resident, but he took a unanimous 116-112, 116-112, 115-114 win.
'Lightning' Lee needed all of his experience to box his way to a 27th win from 29 contests and claim the vacant IBF Inter-Continental lightweight belt.
Selby, who was cut badly when he lost to Warrington at Elland Road, said Douglas proved "one of the toughest" opponents he has faced and blamed himself for the head clashes.
"When he was rushing in he was dangerous with the head," said Selby. "I have two highly experienced cuts men in the corner but in the fight I kept undoing their work. I am a former world champion and I'm still learning."
'Super O' from Delaware, who fell to a third loss in 22 fights, offered pressure and looked confident early on, landing solid shots to the body, but he had never gone 12 rounds before and late in the contest, Selby's judgment of distance saw him evade shots smartly to land eye-catching work. The heavy-handed 28-year-old has an impressive record of 13 KOs from his 19 victories.
"I believe I can win another world title," added Selby. "He was supposed to be a big puncher and I held his shots well. I have a lot to learn, have great trainer and I just want to fight anybody
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