Unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua mixed power and patience as he knocked out Kubrat Pulev to bolster hopes that a historic fight against Tyson Fury could soon be a reality.
The British heavyweight drilled his mandatory challenger to the canvas twice in round three in a chaotic flurry that saw Pulev smiling while under attack and turning his back when under fire, only to somehow make the bell.
Joshua, perhaps fatigued by the chaos, stepped off the gas and allowed Pulev to at least offer some mild threat, but a barrage of uppercuts in the ninth dropped Pulev and a straight right hand wiped him out seconds later.
The 1,000 fans granted access to Wembley Arena saw a blend of the boxing skills and crushing punches that have helped build Joshua into the attraction he is.
Moments after the fans roared at the prospect of the IBF, WBA and WBO champion facing WBC champion Fury next, Joshua said: “I started this game in 2013, gathered the belts.
“Whoever has the belts I want to compete with. If that is Tyson Fury, let it be Tyson Fury.”
More to follow.