Kiwi heavyweight Joseph Parker seems set to move on to face Brit Dereck Chisora, despite an underwhelming display against Junior Fa on Saturday night.
Parker admits he struggled to find any rhythm against Fa's elusive style at Spark Arena, edging a decision win that was much closer than the 119-109, 115-113 and 117-111 scorecards suggest.
A loss would have been a devastating blow to Parker's career, but having his hand raised at least ensures his team's plans to fight Chisora in the UK in late April, early May can proceed.
Nevertheless, there will still be plenty of questions asked about his ability to foot it with the division's elite on the back of his performance against Fa, where Parker realises he wasn't at his best.
"Everything was clicking in training but it just wasn't the performance we wanted tonight. But a win's a win," Parker said post-fight.
"He came in with a game plan and it made it difficult to catch him properly.
"The goal was to start strong and put pressure on but he was able to move around the ring very well."
Last week, Matchroom Boxing boss Eddie Hearn called for Parker to secure a decisive victory to reaffirm the Kiwi's standing as one of the world's best, suggesting anything less may be the death knell for his career.
The 29-year-old may not have been able to rise to that call, but according to Parker's David Higgins, Hearn remains eager to press ahead with plans to take on Chisora.
"David Haye, Chisora’s manager, has been in contact saying ‘yep, we want the fight’," says Higgins.
"Obviously Eddie Hearn’s on record and has been in touch as well.
"Tonight was a win and it was a clear win. Of course there’s stuff to be improved after a year of ring rust. Who knows, Chisora might want the fight even more now.
"If that fight’s on the cards our camp have all agreed we’d take it. But we’ve got to talk to the promoter to see what the lay of the land is."
The two were scheduled to fight back in 2019, until a spider bite forced Parker to withdraw from the bout.
Parker's camp dismissed suggestions that their fighter had one eye on the future on Saturday night, paying credit to Fa, whose quality seemed almost to have taken them by surprise.
"No one's ever seen this Junior Fa before," said trainer Kevin Barry.
"I think this is by far his best every performance by a country mile.
"We prepared very well. There was no excuses, we had a good training camp, we knew that he'd be game.
"I didn't think he’d be that game but he fought with enormous purpose and he was proud."
With his first win in over a year under his belt, Parker's main focus now is building some momentum towards a return to the title picture by staying as active as possible.
"As a team we want to keep busy," Parker said.
"I think you saw when we kept busy in those earlier years – 2014, 2015 and 2016 – everything flowed a lot better.
"I guess when you have time out of the ring, you can do all the training and sparring and everything else but the fights are the most important part."