Kell Brook knocked out Mark DeLuca in the seventh round of his comeback fight in his home city of Sheffield on Saturday.
A left hook flattened DeLuca and caused the referee to step in after Brook had spent the entire fight badly bloodying and hurting his visitor.
After a 14-month hiatus Brook, now aged 33, was brutal and spiteful in this one-sided fight and an explosive victory could now set him up for another major chapter to a career which already includes a world welterweight championship.
The elusive fight with Amir Khan remains a possibility but Liam Smith, who watched from ringside, could be a likelier all-British rival for later in 2020 as he builds towards a world title shot in the super-welterweight division.
Brook exploded into life in the third round when his uppercut broke the former Marine DeLuca's nose. With blood pouring, Brook lashed home two left hooks then floored his opponent.
DeLuca returned to his feet but Brook, into the fourth, was teeing off at will. At the end of this round Brook leathered home several hurtful punches and DeLuca was saved by the bell.
Brook was in cruise control and continued battering DeLuca through the fifth and sixth rounds but couldn't find the stoppage until he whipped a left hook home in the seventh. DeLuca crashed to the floor and although he bravely got up, he was rescued by the referee.
Brook picked up the WBO intercontinental super-welterweight title, moving him a step closer to challenging for that governing body's full championship.