Liam Smith shocked the boxing world with a fourth-round stoppage of Chris Eubank Jr in Manchester on Saturday evening.
A sold out AO Arena witnessed the first stoppage defeat of the Brighton man following two knockdowns at the hands of the 34-year-old Smith.
Unsavoury fight week antics were put to rest by a respectful post-fight embrace between the two fighters.
“The build-up was the build-up, it got a bit ugly at the end. I regretted that, I respect you and your family, I always have”, Eubank Jr said.
“I told you all week. Chris has got a great chin, I’ve got a great chin, but there have been many fighters with great chins who have been knocked out in the past. Nobody can not be hurt”, said Smith.
The opening rounds were tight but it was Eubank Jr who looked to be taking over the contest.
An accurate jab followed by crushing right uppercuts marked a dominant third for the Brighton man.
The opening 45 seconds of the fourth however saw Eubank Jr floored for the first time in his professional career.
The Brighton man found himself with his back to the ropes in the neutral corner before a crashing left-hand landed flush.
Eubank Jr immediately rose to his feet but his legs were unsteady and a right-hand bundled him to the canvas again just seconds after the restart.
The 33-year-old bravely climbed to his feet again but referee Victor Loughlin had seen enough and waved the contest off at 1:55 of the fourth.
A rematch clause is in place granting Eubank Jr the right to enforce a second fight.
Smith has long spoken of his desire to fight at his beloved Liverpool Football Club’s Anfield stadium.
The chief support saw Richard Riakporhe pass his toughest yet with a fourth-round stoppage of former world champion Krzysztof Glowacki.
Riakporhe started fast and wobbled the legs of the Poland man with a straight right-hand at 1:19 of the second.
The experienced Glowacki survived the round but several rights again hurt him with 24 seconds remaining in the fourth.
Riakporhe backed Glowacki up in the neutral corner and a left hook followed by three more rights forced referee Howard Foster to halt the contest with 17 seconds remaining in the round.
The Londoner called for all of the world champions in his post-fight interview.
Promoter Ben Shalom also teased a rematch with Chris Billam-Smith who expressed his desire for a second fight in 2023
Riakporhe defeated the Bournemouth man via split-decision in 2019.
British and Commonwealth welterweight champion Ekow Essuman successfully defended his titles with a tight majority decision victory over rival Chris Kongo.
The latter started the brighter of the two with sharp speed with both hands and feet allowing him to land clean on the oncoming Essuman.
The second half of the fight saw a resurgence from the champion however who looked to have hurt Kongo multiple times to earn a close decision on the judge’s scorecards.
Former heavyweight champion Joseph Parker returned with a comfortable ten-round victory over former cruiserweight Jack Massey.
The fight was Parker’s first since an eleventh-round stoppage defeat to Joe Joyce in September.
The New Zealander was the more dominant of the two in the opening five rounds but Massey closed the gap slightly with an impressive showing in the final rounds.
Massey will no doubt take confidence from a fight many tipped to end in brutal fashion for the Bolton man.
Further down the card, Tokyo 2020 bronze medalist Frazer Clarke became the first to halt heavyweight Kevin Espindola after a fourth-round retirement from the Argentinian.
Coventry heavyweight Matty Harris also scored a first-round stoppage of Jiri Surmaj.
The Rotunda ABC’s Scott Forrest went the distance for the first time after six rounds against Amine Boucetta at cruiserweight.
Stablemate Frankie Stringer also remained undefeated with a dominant four-round performance over Cristian Narvaez at lightweight.