Gunnedah fighter Wade Ryan has won his first national title at his third attempt and in the process "turned the corner" in his career.
Ryan dethroned Cessnock-based Troy O'Meley - who was previously undefeated - in a split-decision result at Cessnock on Saturday night.
He captured the Australian super welterweight title and the vacant International Boxing Organisation international super welterweight title.
In halting a two-fight losing sequence to improve his record to 17 wins against nines losses, Ryan is potentially now three wins away from fighting for a world title, said David Syphers, who has trained Ryan since he first started boxing as a boy at Gunnedah's PCYC.
Syphers said the biggest night of his 30-year-old fighter's career was "a long time coming".
"This is a turning point," he said. "This puts him back at the top of Australia, pretty well - where he should have been.
"Wade's worked hard for this - we've worked hard for this ... This time they couldn't take it off him: they tried."
Syphers felt that his southpaw charge convincingly won the 10-round bout, although he said it was "a good, tough fight".
"Wade dominated probably seven rounds out of 10," said the veteran trainer. "There were a coupe of times there where we thought he was gonna stop O'Meley, but he didn't - to O'Meley's credit."
Two judges had Ryan winning the fight 97-94 and 96-94, while the other judge had O'Meley winning 96-94.
"He hasn't got a problem: he pulled up unmarked," Syphers said of Ryan.
Ryan is now eyeing a defence of his titles at Gunnedah Town Hall on March 27. An opponent is yet to be named.
Ryan's long-term partner, former Australian amateur champion Enja Prest, will make her much-anticipated pro debut in Sydney on January 16. She is also trained by Syphers.