James Tennyson put himself in pole position for a crack at the British lightweight title after defeating Craig Evans by 11th-round knockout last night.
Boxing on the undercard of Callum Smith v John Ryder in Liverpool's Echo Arena, Tennyson's superior strength and punching power shone through.
A relative non-puncher, tricky Evans felt that he was awkward enough to avoid Tennyson's big bombs. Racing out of the blocks, 'The Assassin' is a hard man to deter, dropping Evans with a flurry of left hooks and right uppercuts in the first round. Tennyson's right uppercuts further bloodied Evans' nose in the second session; a skimming left hook sent the Welshman's head spinning at the round's conclusion.
Evans tidied up his work in the third, moving away from Tennyson's straight forward assaults, tucking left hands in to the body behind a southpaw jab.
Evans' rhythm continued in the fourth. There was little nuance to Tennyson's seek-and-destroy approach through the fifth and sixth. The edge in power was always in the Belfast man's favour and Evans' face was showing the effects of Tennyson's relentless attacks.
Heads clashed in the eighth shortly before Evans' gumshield flew out in a punishing three minutes for the Newport man.
Boxing behind his usual high guard, seeking opportunities with the overhand right and left hook, Tennyson's stalking style was paying off.
Tennyson (26) has endured some career setbacks but has matured into a proven finisher at domestic level. He teed off on his weary opponent with some brutal shots midway through the 11th round, prompting a compassionate stoppage from referee Steve Gray.
The winner was expected to move on to a shot at Joe Cordina who currently holds the British title at 135 pounds. Cordina, however, boxes in Monaco next week at a lower weight so will possibly leave Tennyson to box for a vacant belt.