Kell Brook made a victorious return to the ring by knocking out American Mark DeLuca in the seventh round at his hometown Sheffield Arena.
Brook, who had spent 14 months out of the ring, dominated former US marine DeLuca, 31, from the start.
He knocked his opponent down in the third round before a shuddering left hook ended the bout in the seventh.
“This is my last chance and 2020 is my year,” said Brook, who has endured a testing period since 2016.
In that time he has broken both eye sockets and given up his world welterweight title to Errol Spence Jr in a dramatic fight at Bramall Lane in 2017.
His last outing was an underwhelming points win over Australian Michael Zerafa in December 2018.
“You always question yourself, I believe in what I’ve been doing in the gym,” added Brook. “I’m a new kid, a different person.”
DeLuca, who has served in Afghanistan, had been beaten just once going into the bout but this was a step up in class too far for him.
On a potential fight with fellow Briton Liam Smith, who was watching at ringside, Brook said: “I don’t shy away from any fighter, I have a lot of respect for him, we sparred and if it is anything like that it will be a good fight.
“I love the Smith family, when we get in there it’s business.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “It’s good to see him back, and back smiling. It’s been 14 months of terror and torture. I’m proud of him, I believe 2020 is going to be a good year for him.
“He’s one of the old crew. He’s not retiring yet, I want to see another belt around his waist.”
Harper, Galahad and Allen all victorious
It was a good night for local boxers with Terri Harper beating Finland’s Eva Wahlstrom to claim the WBC world super-featherweight title.
Harper, from Doncaster, is only Great Britain’s second major female world champion, following the recently retired Nicola Adams, who was the WBO world flyweight champion.
Sheffield’s Kid Galahad dominated Dominican fighter Claudio Marrero from start to finish in a “career best” performance to give himself another chance at the IBF world featherweight title.
Marrero, a former WBA interim featherweight champion, was retired by his corner after round eight having taken a flurry of punches from 29-year-old Galahad.
Galahad’s only career defeat in 28 fights came against IBF world featherweight champion Josh Warrington in June last year with a tough split-decision points loss and this victory means he is now the mandatory challenger for Warrington’s IBF belt.
There was victory for another Yorkshireman as Doncaster heavyweight Dave Allen fought for the first time since a gruelling points defeat by David Price at London’s O2 Arena which saw him taken to hospital afterwards.
The 27-year-old, nicknamed ‘White Rhino’, emphatically knocked out Welsh boxer Dorian Darch, 35, in the third round to take his record to 18-5-2.
Article courtesy of BBC Sport