Callum Smith recorded an eight stoppage win in 10 fights as a professional in Manchester
Callum Smith retained his WBC International super-middleweight title with a stoppage victory over Francois Bastient.
Last Updated: 19/04/14 9:19pm
Smith claimed a record six successive first round stoppage wins last year but a hand injury that required surgery had kept him out for six months.
But he returned looking as sharp as ever, battering his over-matched opponent with a range of shots, in particular his left downstairs 'honey-punch', stiffening him midway through the opener by a rapid left-right combination.
It was one-way traffic although the Frenchman showed more ambition in the second, attempting to close the wide gap between them and managing to land a few shots on the much taller man.
However, it merely acted as a spur for Smith to raise the tempo once more as he unleashed spiteful shots to the head and body despite Bastient's tight guard.
The 54-fight veteran was rocking and reeling towards the end of the second and he began the third throwing hayemaker right hands, causing him to walk onto a huge right upper cut that took the wind from him.
Somehow he made it to his feet but after beating the count his corner threw in the towel and their fighter quickly took a knee once more.
"It's been a long six months and I'm glad to be back," said 23-year-old Smith, who celebrates his birthday on Wednesday. "I did expect a few rounds but whatever I threw landed, he walked onto a shot and I didn't think he'd get up."
Smith will be back in action in Cardiff in a month's time when he takes on Welshman Tobias Webb.