Liam Williams set up a shot at WBO world middleweight titleholder Demetrius Andrade with a ruthless first-round KO win on Saturday at the BT Sport Studios in London.
Williams, of Wales, stopped Andrew Robinson with a body shot 1:28 minutes into the fight in a second defense of his British middleweight title.
Williams emphatically maintained his position as mandatory challenger for the WBO belt with his seventh successive stoppage win.
Williams (23-2-1, 18 KOs), 28, can expect a world title shot in 2021, against either Andrade or Jaime Munguia.
Robinson (24-5-1, 7 KOs), 36, from Redditch, England, got an early indication of Williams’ power when Williams landed a right hook to Robinson’s temple.
Williams then burst to life later in the first round after he was cut on top of the head from a clash of heads, which also left Robinson badly cut above his left eye.
With blood streaming down his face, Williams suddenly attacked with more intent. He backed Robinson into a corner, and after a series of hooks, Williams dug a left to the body that sank Robinson, who was counted out.
“I wanted it to go a bit further, but we clashed heads and I saw blood dripping so I thought, ‘I need to end this now before it ends in a technical draw,'” Williams said. “I’m mandatory challenger for WBO title to fight Demetrius Andrade and it’s a case of when and where, I will be there. I want my opportunity next.”
Williams, who is from the Rhondda Valley but trains in Sheffield, is in the best form of his career. After two defeats to England’s Liam Smith at junior middleweight in 2017, Williams has improved as a middleweight and once again showed what a vicious finisher he is at the moment.
In the co-main event, England’s Nathan Gorman won a 10th-round unanimous decision over Ghana’s Richard Lartey (99-92, 100-90 and 100-90) in a Commonwealth heavyweight title eliminator.
Gorman (17-1, 11 KOs), 24, had not boxed since being knocked out in five rounds by Daniel Dubois 15 months ago, while Lartey (14-3, 11 KOs) had his first fight since also being stopped by Dubois 18 months ago.