Manchester fighter Jordan Thompson fell short in his world title bid after being outclassed and stopped inside four rounds by Jai Opetaia, who retained his IBF cruiserweight title at Wembley Arena.
Thompson, standing at 6ft 7in, boasted a five-inch height advantage over Opetaia but was unable to keep his relentless opponent at bay as the Australian southpaw landed punishing shots at will.
Making the first defense of the title he won by outpointing Mairis Briedis in July last year, Opetaia made a big statement to the rest of the 200lbs division – albeit against a more inexperienced foe.
Thompson had won all 15 of his previous professional encounters but this was a pronounced step up in competition and he demonstrated only glimpses of belonging at world title level.
Thompson was put down in the third by a three-punch combination and although the 30-year-old gamely rose back to his feet and saw out the rest of the round, his corner threatened to pull him out.
But Opetaia conclusively ended matters just 20 seconds into the fourth, as a ramrod left was followed by another combination, which left Thompson sagging to his knees as the contest was waved off.
Opetaia (23-0, 18KOs) is now targeting a unification showdown against WBO belt holder and Thompson’s fellow Briton Chris Billam-Smith, who was ringside on Saturday night.
Opetaia said on DAZN: “I’ve been saying at all press conferences, I come to earn respect, not to disrespect. Chris Billam-Smith, I’d love to make that happen. I want that WBO around my waist.”