Tyron Zeuge made it second time lucky with a dramatic late knockout of Giovani De Carolis in Brandenburg, Germany.
The 24 year-old looked set for a points victory until Zeuge piled on the pressure to force a stoppage from referee Roberto Ramirez Jr. with the final bell imminent.
With the super-middleweight division wide open with the WBA following Felix Sturm’s decision to drop the ‘super’ version, Zeuge is now recognized as the only champion with the organization.
Zeuge will definitely have a target on his back after two unconvincing fights with De Carolis though, as the German failed to prove he could live with some of the top operators at 168.
The likes of James DeGale, Badou Jack, George Groves, Gilberto Ramirez, Paul Smith Jnr and Arthur Abraham would all be confident of ripping the strap away from Zeuge who is almost certain to be handed an easier defence by his promoters Sauerland upon his return to action next year.
Former champion Fedor Chudinov should be next in line if the WBA make the correct ruling as there were question marks over Sturm in the wake of their win before the veteran ultimately gave up the belt.
On the undercard, welterweight Deniz Ilbay, Stefan Haertel at super-middleweight, cruiserweights Artur Mann and Kai Robin Havnaa and middleweights Patrick Wojcicki and Arman Torosyan all celebrated victories at the MBS Arena, alongside heavyweight hope Burak Sahin who improves to 10-0 0.