Chris Eubank Jr beat Liam Smith by TKO in round 10 of their middleweight rematch after knocking him down twice.
Eubank, 33, dropped Smith, 35, in the fourth round, the same round in which the Liverpudlian beat him in their first fight back in January.
Although Eubank was not able to press this advantage, he continued to dominate at Manchester Arena with an impressive range of shots.
And in round 10 the referee stopped the fight after Smith went down again.
“What happened tonight was supposed to happen in January,” Eubank told Sky Sports. “I trained hard, the focus is always there and I dedicate my life to this sport.”
Smith admitted he had not been at his best, as he struggled with his movement after appearing to pick up an ankle injury.
“Chris was the better man tonight,” he said. “Chris knows how I was with the weight and after the injury, I came down three stone.
“I was flat as they come from the get go. I couldn’t move my feet and Chris was sharp.”
Eubank impressive in gaining revenge
Eubank had activated the rematch clause following his first knockout defeat seven months ago, and after numerous delays he returned to the scene of that loss stronger than before.
Smith came in as slight favourite after his impressive win in January and had the partisan north-west crowd on his side, but Eubank was more than prepared, playing up to his villain role as he cupped his ear to the boos of the audience on entering the ring.
After an even start, Eubank gained the ascendancy and dropped Smith with a fierce uppercut in round four, from which he never truly recovered.
Eubank attempted to finish the fight soon after, landing a ferocious series of punches in round five that Smith managed to weave away from, to give his supporters hope.
But Eubank knew he was on top and could bide his time, calmly returning behind the jab in the middle rounds as Smith sought the knockout punch he needed.
With Smith’s movement seemingly hampered by an issue with his left ankle, Eubank moved in to settle the victory, putting his opponent back on the canvas before the referee waved the fight off – and granted Eubank revenge.
“Liam is a warrior, I respect him and his whole team,” added Eubank, having been involved in bitter confrontations with Smith out of the ring before both bouts.
“He didn’t give up and he fought to the last second.”
Coach change pays off for Eubank
In the days before their fight in January, Eubank was full of confidence, promising to destroy Smith inside a few rounds. Before this rematch, there was an obvious change in Eubank’s demeanour.
He was not eager to engage with Smith’s attempts to get under his skin pre-fight and did not respond to taunts in the ring, including after Smith claimed he was pushed to the canvas at the end of round two.
A loss here could have spelled the end of not just Eubank’s dreams of challenging for a world title, but his position as one of the country’s biggest boxing stars. This result, and performance, will surely now reestablish him.
It justifies Eubank’s split with Roy Jones Jr and hiring of new coach Brian ‘Bomac’ McIntyre who trains undisputed welterweight champion Terence Crawford. This was not quite a performance as dominant as Crawford’s demolition of Errol Spence Jr, but it was on those lines.
“They all add percentages and what’ve learned over the years is you have to take all percentages you can,” Eubank said. “There’s some tough, tough men out there.”
Smith, on the other hand, sees a four-fight knockout streak come to an end, with the Manchester crowd left angry and disappointed.