Billy Joe Saunders was clearly in the mood for a fight in Leicester on Saturday night following a frustrating time trying to nail down a fight with Gennady Golovkin.
The WBO middleweight champion missed out on a June clash with the four-belt ruler in Kazakhstan and is now required to pick up his career against the number one contender.
Avtandil Khurtsidze showed why he was the pre-fight favourite as the Georgian booked his shot at Saunders by stopping Tommy Langford in the title holder’s presence.
The 37 year-old, nicknamed ‘Tazman’, had Langford in trouble early on before taking over in the fourth, then dropping and stopping the Briton in the fifth.
Promoter Frank Warren had already agreed a deal pre-fight with either fighter for a July 8 encounter at Copper Box and Saunders was ready to go there and then.
Saunders kept it together when speaking to BT Sport and in the press conference when solo with the media, although once Khurtsidze entered the mood changed.
The Hatfield man attempted to begin the fight two and a half months early as security were forced to step in and stop Saunders from attacking the Georgian.
More details of Warren’s summer promotion at the Olympic venue will be released in due course but the fight could be a warm-up for a massive Golovkin v Saunders unification in September.
Much depends on ‘GGG’ sealing an agreement with Canelo for the fall and won’t become clear until the Mexican fights Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on May 6 in Las Vegas.