Middleweight Mark Dickinson took a significant first step towards a major domestic title with a fifth-round stoppage of Grant Dennis (18-5, 3KOs) in Newcastle.
The unbeaten Dickinson succeeded in the first significant step up in opponent calibre of his young career to extend his unbeaten record to six unbeaten while claiming the second stoppage of his career.
The opening round saw Dickinson start confidently behind the jab and offer significant variation from head to body, landing on Dennis regularly in the opening half of the round before the action subdued in a tame opening frame.
Dickinson upped the intensity of his work in the second, targeting hooks around the guard and to the body of Dennis in the opening stages of two before Dennis could negate the efforts of Dickinson with his footwork and blocking the at times telegraphed punches of Dickinson.
Round three saw Dickinson becoming loose with his shots and quickening and shortening his shots to a more significant effect than the second frame. Dennis could absorb the shots with relative ease while still being able to land the occasional shot of his own to remind Dickinson that he can't make elementary mistakes.
Like three, Dickinson would start the fourth quickly onto the front foot and able to push back Dennis towards the ropes with his combination punches. Dennis would begin to become less tame with his jab and could land while closing the distance, enabling Dennis to smother Dickinson's work.
As the fight's tempo was almost set in stone, Dickinson, following a strong moment of pressure against Dennis, landed an unanswered flurry finished with a right uppercut that sent Dennis down heavily to the canvas. Despite Dennis's best efforts and protests, referee Dan Sarginson ruled that Dennis was in no position to continue and waved off the contest after 1:10 of round five.