Joe Joyce has produced the performance of his professional career to stop Joseph Parker in the 11th round of their heavyweight bout in Manchester, collecting the WBO interim title in the process.
The pair have spent their recent fights jockeying for position in the world rankings with the top tier of the division currently clogged with talk of super-fights and undisputed contests.
Nevertheless, the two likeable fighters from England and New Zealand respectively had been ranked in the top two positions in the WBO, leaving them aware that they were a win away from being in a position to theoretically challenge Oleksandr Usyk.
Although Joyce, the number one, could have remained patient and waited for his chance to fight for a world title, the Olympic silver medallist equally required a platform to convince any doubters that he could match his former amateur foe.
The usual flaws in the 37-year-old's arsenal were on show during the early rounds as Parker triple and quadruple jabbed, while the away fighter also landed numerous huge shots throughout a captivating bout.
However, there was an added spite about Joyce's punches and resilience on Saturday night, the veteran barely budging when Parker connected with shots which would have at least troubled many other elite heavyweights.
Barely a round passed where Parker did not enjoy some joy, but it was Joyce who was inflicting the most damage, constantly swinging away to the head and body.
A pinpoint left opened up a cut above Parker's right eye in the seventh, and it was not long before his corner had to go to work to prevent his left swelling shut.
Even in the 11th, Parker was willing to trade with Joyce, as he was throughout the fight, but there was also a feeling that Joyce deserved such a conclusive finish, one which came with another monstrous left which sent Parker stumbling into the corner and to the canvas.
Although Parker gallantly got to his feet in an attempt to beat the count, there was an acceptance that he was done as he was stopped for the first time in the professional ranks.
As for Joyce, he will now wait to see how the latest heavyweight puzzle unravels, with Usyk waiting to see the outcome of the negotiations between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua before settling on his first outing of 2023.