Junior Fa's journey to the top of heavyweight boxing's mountain top took a step in the right direction on Saturday.
The Kiwi slugger topped former American Olympic boxing team member Devin Vargas via decision at the Salt Palace in Utah.
It marks the 19th win of Fa's career but also his biggest test against dangerous journeyman who proved craft throughout the 10 rounds.
Ultimately Fa's size and power shone through with the City Kickboxing prospect dropping the American twice in 10 rounds with vicious body shots.
The win should see the undefeated Aucklander break into the top five in the WBO rankings behind champion Andy Ruiz.
Fellow Kiwi Joseph Parker is currently ranked fourth while other potential opponents for Fa include highly-touted British power-puncher Daniel Dubois, Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk.
Meanwhile, Fa's teammate Hemi Ahio lived up to his billing as the Tongan Mike Tyson, stopping American Justin Tufte in the second round. Tufte hit the canvas three times before the referee called a halt to the action - a merciful finish to the fight for the overmatched Tufte.
Ahio improves to 16-0 as a professional with 10 stoppages and having just signed a multi-fight deal with big-time American promoter Lou Di Bella, bigger fights should be on the horizon.