SAM Ah-See has become just the second man to win an Australian title fight in Orange, defeating Shannon 'Shaggy' King in a split decision to claim the vacant Australian Super Welterweight title on Friday night.
In an absorbing battle in front of a packed Orange Function Centre crowd, Ah-See withstood the brutal power of King to win over two thirds of the judging panel 93-97, 97-94 and 96-92.
When the final judgement was made, Ah-See's huge support went into hysterics.
"I'm pretty pumped," Ah-See said following the fight, the second title belt won in Orange after Billy Moeller defended his belt in 1976.
"It was a good hard fight; a good tough fight.
"He kept the pressure on, the crowd loved it. The crowd here was unbelievable. It was just as exciting as fighting on the Mundine card. I'm happy with the fight, I got a bit more tired than I would have liked but did enough to get away with the fight."
King talked up his power throughout the entire build up to the title fight.
And it nearly proved decisive.
Down after being handed a controversial eight count in the fifth, King had to fight back and did so with great effect through rounds six to eight, drawing blood from Ah-See's nose in the eighth with a flurry of left straights.
Appearing weary, Ah-See lifted.
As the 'Ah-See' chant began, the former Australian amateur champion reverted back to his trademark quick feet and lightning hands, landing several blows on King to claim vital wins in both the penultimate and final rounds of the title fight.
"The crowd here was unbelievable. It was just as exciting as fighting on the Mundine card. I'm happy with the fight"
Evenly poised before the ring announcer revealed the final judgement, both fighters had claims at the vacant belt.
But there was only ever going to be one victor.
"It's been years in the making," Ah-See said.
"It'll go down in history. I'm really happy."
Using the adrenaline of the build-up in the fight's early rounds to assert his dominance, Ah-See was made to work by King, a tough fighter with incredible stamina.
Ah-See said King's power didn't phase him, however.
"He probably got one or two good shots but I was confident in standing still and rolling with his punches," he said, not quite prepared to go rope-a-dope.
"I thought I would have had to move a bit more but his punches didn't concern me. It was decent, but I expected harder."
Ah-See said the eight-count against King in the fifth round was countered by his loss of a point in the tenth round for an accidental head butt.
"That the judges decision," he said.
"I don't know the rules of boxing, I just get in there and fight.
"It was their decision, it probably evened up when I lost a point ... I don't know how good a decision that was. I didn't try to head butt him, it was more of an accident. It was a style clash.
"That eight count probably evened it out."