Tommy Martin survived an early hiccup to extend his proud unbeaten record tonight.

The English light-welterweight champion collected a 12th successive victory by stopping Terry Needham late in the penultimate round of their clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.

Martin showed plenty of character and class to turn the fight around after being on the receiving end of a hotly-disputed knock-down in the opening round.

He gradually turned the screw with a number of right-hand shots hurting hometown opponent Needham.

And his first outing since winning the English title five months ago came to a successful climax with 18 seconds of the seventh round remaining after a monster right left Needham dazed and forced referee Steve Gray to step in.

Martin admitted: “There was a bit of ring-rust, but that is understandable in my first fight for five months.

“I got put in against a southpaw at not much more than two weeks’ notice, but credit to my team for making sure I could do the business.

“I swear on my life I felt nothing with that knockdown, but that’s the way it goes.

“I had to make sure I won rounds from then on and it was all a learning curve.”

Martin is expected to be back in action September when making a first defence of his English title – and London fighter Charlie Rice is the man he has in his sights.