British light-heavyweight Anthony Yarde has become the first fighter to stop compatriot Dec Spelman.
In his first bout since his father and grandmother died with Covid-19, Yarde floored Spelman with a flurry of right hands in the sixth round at York Hall.
It was a second straight win for Yarde, 29, since he was knocked out by Sergey Kovalev in a WBO title fight in August 2019 – his only career defeat.
Yarde said a bout with British rival Joshua Buatsi was “going to happen”.
Speaking to Queensberry Promotions after Saturday’s fight, Yarde said: “I’m happy. I’ve been through a lot. A lot of fighters would have taken more time out to get their thoughts together but I have a strong mentality.
Spelman, 28, landed the first significant blow of the night with a crisp right hand in the first round on Saturday, but Yarde responded well.
The punishment continued before referee Michael Alexander stepped in to end the contest after Spelman was knocked to the canvas in the sixth.