Heavyweight Anthony Joshua won with a punch knockout in the seventh round against Robert Helenius at London’s O2 Arena.
The 33-year-old Nigerian Briton had a lukewarm bout until he landed an overhand right ending Helenius’ night.
The win marked Joshua’s first stoppage victory in two and half years and set up a blockbuster fight with American Deontay Wilder in January 2024.
After the knockout, Helenius needed oxygen but recovered and congratulated Joshua before exiting the ring.
Joshua now has 26 wins, with 23 stoppages and three defeats.
This will be the ninth time the 2012 Olympic gold medallist will fight at the O2 Arena.
The last time Joshua knocked out an opponent in the first half of a fight was in 2016 when he stopped Eric Molina-an unimpressive statistic for someone once considered one of boxing’s heavy hitters.
Saudi Arabian representatives were in attendance, eager to conclude negotiations for a Joshua-Wilder Middle Eastern fight.
The Joshua-Wilder is a fight proposed several times before, notably when both heavyweights held all four world titles.
Over time the politics in boxing has prevented it, but the money offered for a Middle East mega fight will be too good for both fighter and promoter to refuse.
The winner of the Joshua-Wilder fight will have the opportunity to have a shot at world-title contention, and the loser will have to be happy with getting handsomely paid.