Deontay Wilder blasted out Luis Ortiz in a Brooklyn shoot-out which enthralled for the duration at Barclays Center in New York.
A slow start to the contest saw Ortiz take much of the early running as Wilder used those initial stages to figure out the Cuban’s style.
Wilder came to life in the fifth when he caught Ortiz flush to wobble him before pouncing to drop the veteran hard.
Ortiz managed to get through the round and steady himself in the sixth as Wilder gradually came more and more into the fight.
A huge underdog onslaught in the seventh, which obviously was Ortiz emptying the tank knowing his 38 year-old body couldn’t last the full distance with the young champion, almost resulted in a shock win for the challenger.
‘The Bronze Bomber’ was all but out on his feet but took the best Ortiz could offer before stumbling back to his corner on the verge of losing his WBC heavyweight crown.
Still weary as the eighth began, Wilder was given a reprieve by referee David Fields who asked the ringside doctor to check him over.
The Tuscaloosa man somehow got through the eighth unscathed, and by the ninth, has all his faculties back as Ortiz visibly tired.
Hitting Ortiz’s chin with more regularity, it seemed a matter of time before Wilder connected and had his opponent in trouble again.
Into the tenth, and the resistance of Ortiz was now faded as Wilder battered him into submission, dropping him twice, the final time without the need for a count.
Retaining his green and gold belt, Wilder is still hoping to land a unification with Anthony Joshua, who may now fancy his chances even more.
One thing Wilder did show was that he can take a punch, a myth which has been doing the rounds since his sparring days in the UK with David Haye a few years ago.
Speaking with Showtime’s Jim Gray, Wilder was clearly relieved to have come through what was his toughest test to date.
“King Kong ain’t got nothing on me!” he said. “A true champion always finds a way to come back. Luis Ortiz put up a great fight and we knew we would have to wear him down.
“He was a great opponent and I showed everybody I can take a punch and had the heart to come back.”