Ohara Davies put in a career-best performance to halt Lewis Ritson inside nine rounds at Newcastle’s Utilita Arena on Saturday evening.
The London super-lightweight broke Ritson down before ending the fight for good with a brutal left hook to the body with 2:23 on the clock in the ninth.
The win now leaves Davies in a strong position with the WBA after victory in Saturday’s final eliminator but will have to wait for the winner of Alberto Puello vs Rolando Romero to face Ismael Barroso before getting his shot.
Ritson meanwhile posted a lengthy statement to his social media on Sunday morning thanking his fans for their support.
Davies also posted a classy tweet encouraging Ritson to continue with his career and wished him luck for the future.
The card also saw the announcement of Uzbekistan featherweight Otabek Kholmatov on the world stage as he pummelled Thomas Patrick Ward in a fifth-round defeat.
Ward was floored in the first, fourth and fifth rounds before his corner mercifully threw in the towel to hand the Brit his first professional defeat in his 35th pro contest.
Kholmatov meanwhile remains undefeated in eleven contests, ten of which have ended inside the distance, to secure a shot at WBA champion Mauricio Lara following victory in the final eliminator this weekend.
Lee McGregor also marked a successful return to the ring with a 79-74 points victory over Alexis Kabore in an eight-round bantamweight encounter.
Lightweight Steven Cairns also won all six rounds to defeat Jakub Laskowski in his fifth pro outing.