Anthony Joshua sensationally knocked out Alexander Povetkin in the seventh round of their heavyweight clash at Wembley Stadium to retain his IBF, WBO and WBA titles, as the Londoner unleashed a barrage of heavy blows which left the Russian on the canvas. Joshua jumped on Povetkin with another combination that forced the referee to jump in and stop the fight.
Joshua won with an explosive finish in the seventh.
However, early on it was the smaller challenger who appeared the more inspired by the occasion and he caught the Briton late in the first round with an uppercut on the nose.
Povetkin cut a relaxed and confident figure at the weigh-in with little concern about coming in the much lighter man.
Joshua, born in nearby Watford but based in London, had been taken the distance for the first time as a professional in his last title defence - a unanimous points victory over New Zealand's Joseph Parker in Cardiff in March.
"We've already tried once - we signed a contract, they didn't - and now he's fighting [former unified world champion Tyson] Fury".
"If I had a pecking order it would be Wilder, Dillian (Whyte) and then Fury", Joshua told taskSPORT.
The undercard of that fight saw Povetkin serve notice of his formidable punching power with a sickening knockout of Britain's David Price.
Deontay Wilder will defend his WBC heavyweight title against Tyson Fury on December 1 at a venue yet to be confirmed..
Joshua said Povetkin was one of the toughest challengers.
"Joshua is a player in this game, the one stepping up and taking on great fighters".
The venue and date of Joshua's next fight have always been determined - Wembley Stadium, April 13 - but the opponent is still unclear.
'Joshua is under a lot of pressure, there is massive pressure on me every fight and he is at a higher level than me.