Demetrius Andrade continued his quest for a big money fights with a second round KO over Jason Quigley in his latest world middleweight title defence.
Andrade was making his sixth title outing at the weight as he welcomed Quigley to Manchester, New Hampshire.
And he knew only a standout performance would attract the eye of top rivals like Canelo Alvarez or Jermall Charlo.
He delivered in spades, dropping Quigley three times within the opening six minutes, and announcing himself as a major player on the world stage in his 31st professional win.
Quigley was looking to write his name in the history books alongside countrymen Steve Collins and Andy Lee, his coach who was absent due to a visa issue, in winning the WBO middleweight title.
Collins famously conquered Chris Eubank in Cork 26 years ago, while Lee was also an underdog when he beat Matvey Korobov in 2014 for the same belt.
But he was dropped in the first, falling victim to Andrade’s elite-level speed that saw him take out Quigley’s countryman Luke Keeler two years prior.
The Irishman improved in the second, but was dropped again and ultimately finished by an Andrade who was out for blood after years of what he and his fans deemed poor treatment from the boxing establishment.
Irishman Quigley drew a sizeable portion of the crowd to New Hampshire, despite the event taking place just a stone’s throw from Andrade’s hometown of Providence, Rhode Island.
But it wasn’t to be for the Irishman, who will return to the drawing board after taking his second professional loss.
A night of world championship boxing took over the SNHU Arena, with four fights on the main card seeing six titles on the line.
Julio Cesar Martinez was floored in the first round of his flyweight world title defence with McWilliams Arroyo in the co-main event, but came back to drop the Puerto Rican twice.
After two rounds, the bout was called as a no contest as Arroyo had been cut in a clash of heads.
Kali Reis continued her quest to become undisputed at super lightweight in front of a favourable crowd travelling from Providence to watch her and Andrade – and Reis was given a solid test by the game Jessica Camara.
But it ultimately wasn’t enough from the Canadian, best known for her win over Heather Hardy earlier in the year, who was beaten by a razor-close split decision.
Murodjon Akhmadaliev defended his super bantamweight titles in a heated, if relatively uneventful, unanimous decision win over Chilean Jose Velasquez.
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Velasquez put on early pressure, and even mounted a seventh round rally, but was clearly a level below the unbeaten Uzbeikstani as he slumped to a comprehensive defeat.
Elsewhere on the undercard, Quigley’s countryman Thomas O’Toole landed a vicious 25-second knockout of hometown fighter Mark Malone.
O’Toole, moving to 2-0 with as many KOs, brutalised the previously 1-0 Malone with a left hand that knocked the Manchester native out clean.
Demsey McKean landed the other undercard knockout, stopping Don Haynesworth in a heavyweight contest that saw
American prospect Khalil Coe was held to a draw by rugged journeyman Aaron Casper, while Nelson Perez improved to a 5-0 with an unanimous decision win over Raymundo Rios.
Promoter Eddie Hearn will now set his sights on next weekend’s lightweight world title fight in New York between Teofimo Lopez and George Kambosos Jr.