Zolani Tete unleashed a brutal uppercut to stop Britain's Paul Butler and claim victory in their IBF world super-flyweight title fight at Liverpool's Echo Arena on Friday.
Butler was bidding to add to the bantamweight belt he reluctantly gave up last year, but Tete's eighth-round knock-out ensured it was the South African who emerged triumphant.
Tete dominated the early rounds and while Butler responded with a strong left-hook in round five, his opponent restored control in the sixth and seventh before landing the decisive blow.
"I knew Paul was a good fighter, but I knew I could knock him out," Tete told BoxNation. "Paul is shorter than me. I'm looking forward to defending my title again."
Butler was considered the pre-fight favourite but the 26-year-old conceded he had lost to the better fighter on the night.
"He was very good and very awkward, a better man on the night," Butler said.
"I normally have people come towards me. He's a very big kid, and we knew his power by his record. He's a great champion."
It means Tete's record stands at 20-3 with 17 knock-outs while Butler is 17-1, after suffering his first career loss.
"He can come back," promoter Frank Warren added. "But he must learn from what happened tonight."
Earlier in the night, British veteran Derry Mathews maintained his pursuit of the WBA lightweight title after stopping Hungarian Gyorgy Mizsei Jr in the fifth round.
Mathews will now shift his attention to a clash with reigning champion Richar Abril on April 18.