Joseph Parker's heavyweight boxing clinic against Derek Chisota appeared plain sailing, but the Kiwi has revealed a scary moment that went unnoticed by viewers.
Parker looked aggressive, strong and fit through the entire 12 rounds - a surefire sign of his improvement under new trainer Andy Lee, but suffered an injury in the early rounds that could have derailed his career-saving performance.
Parker tells Newshub a left-hook thunderbolt from Chisora burst his eardrum in the third round, leaving the Kiwi with nine rounds to navigate the fight carefully and protect his ear.
"I've only just recovered," Parker says.
"Derek caught me good early doors - I think it was round three - and my eardrum exploded.
"I was a bit worried and managed to work through it, but I pretty much lost my hearing for a few days after and have only just regained it."
With his ear almost back to 100 percent, Parker has immediately set his sights on a return to the ring and is back training at Tyson Fury's gym at Morecambe.
COVID-19 managed isolation complications in New Zealand has seen Parker and his family temporarily relocate in the United Kingdom, but that comes with the major bonus of training at one of the most decorated boxing gyms in the world.
The entire Fury boxing clan trains at MTK Global, where Parker has prepared for his last two fights, since splitting from longtime mentor Kevin Barry last February.
Parker says there is nowhere to hide and acknowledges that not being the centrepiece of a training camp has been the best thing for him.
"There is always someone watching you.
"You can't take any sparring rounds off or slack off at all, or you will cop an earful.
"You see everyone training hard around you and you know you can't let up.
"I always trained hard under Kevin [Barry] and he was a great trainer, but under Andy and under the eyes of the Furys, this has been the best move for me.
"This is the best, most confident I have ever felt."
Parker and Barry still communicate regularly, and he visited his former coach at his Las Vegas base, when Parker attended Fury's WBC title win over Deontay Wilder last year.
Respect will always exist between the two.
"I have so much love for Kevin. He wants what's best for me and he's happy, if I'm happy.
"It was great hanging out with Kevin, his wife and [son] Tayler last year in Vegas, and we still speak almost weekly, via text.
"We won a world title together - you can't take that away from us."
Newshub understands Parker's contract with Matchroom is up, and promoter Eddie Hearn has until January 19 to offer Parker and manager David Higgins a new deal, so his 2022 fight-path will become clearer in a few weeks.
Parker wants to return to the ring as early as March and his win over Chisora has his name on the end of every potential challenger's tongue.
Australian top-10 ranked heavyweight Demsey McKean looms as a potential opponent downunder, but more lucrative, career-advancing fights make more sense for Parker.
A title eliminator against Croatian Filip Hrgovic is logical, while Parker still longs for rematches against Andy Ruiz and Dillian Whyte.
Former WBC champion Wilder is without a fight, while Luis Ortiz looked impressive in dispatching American Charles Martin last Sunday.
Whatever name wins the Parker sweepstakes, he is ready and willing to put his top-four world ranking at stake.
"I just want to fight a meaningful fight that keeps me pushing towards a title shot.
"I'm realistic - the title is still a ways away. Tyson will fight in March probably, and then it would make sense for him to fight the winner of Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua, so that's at least a year.
“I'd love to fight Andy or Dillian again, and everyone is talking about Hrgovic, but he's not that well known a name, so the stakes need to be right.
"At the end of the day, I want to get back to that world title, so if it makes sense, then I'm there."