Alexander Povetkin produced a stunning display to drop Mike Perez twice in the first round on his way to a crushing Moscow victory.
The Russian blasted out of the blocks to put immediate hurt on the Cuban and set up a shot at WBC champion Deontay Wilder with a brilliant performance.
Povetkin became only the second man to inflict a loss on Perez and improved to 29-1 with arguably his most deadly career triumph.
In the co-feature, Grigory Drozd successfully defended his WBC cruiserweight title with a ninth round stoppage win over Lukasz Janik.
Drozd out-classed the game challenger to force referee Ian John-Lewis to step in and save Janik from further punishment as the later rounds loomed.
Also on the card in Luzhniki, Rakhim Chakhkiev claimed the vacant IBO cruiserweight title by halting Junior Wright in the eighth round, whilst Manuel Charr out-pointed former Klitschko challenger Alex Leapai convincingly. Judges handed Charr the fight 100-90, 97-92 and 98-94 as ‘The Diamond Boy’ improved to 28-3 and put his recent loss to Johann Duhaupas behind him.
In an earlier contest at the cruiserweight limit, Dmitry Kudryashov knocked out Vikapita Meroro in six rounds to push his impressive record to 18-0. All of the hard-hitting Russian’s victories so far have come early as the 29 year-old continues his rise up the rankings.