George Groves produced a dominant fifth-round stoppage win over Andrea Di Luisa in his first fight under new trainer Shane McGuigan.
The 27-year-old super-middleweight has linked up with McGuigan after three failed attempts to win a world title and he started this chapter of his career with a ruthless victory at the Copper Box Arena.
Groves floored Di Luisa with a body shot in the fifth and his follow-up attack convinced the Italian’s corner to hastily throw in the towel.
After that bitterly disappointing points loss to WBC champion Badou Jack, Groves has begun his pursuit of a fourth world title shot and called for a swift return to the ring after his 22nd win.
A brass band sounded the entrance of Groves and he marched straight to work in the first round, producing spearing jabs quickly followed with his rapier right hand.
Di Luisa was already wearing a concerned expression by the second round and walked into a crisp one-two combination from Groves which drew blood from the Neapolitan’s nose.
Back in front of his British fans, Groves seemed eager to impress and ripped open Di Luisa’s defences with his swift hand speed.
Di Luisa had brief success when he switched to southpaw in the third, landing a crisp left hand, but Groves answered this tactical switch with a left hook of his own.
The left hook also proved a potent weapon in the fourth as he connected again with the static Di Luisa, who was forced to take a count after referee Ian-John Lewis controversially ruled that he had touched down.
Di Luisa could have no complaints as he was floored twice more in the fifth round to prompt the intervention of his corner.
A spiteful body shot from Groves forced Di Luisa to drop to his knees and although he rose with a pained expression, another big overhand right was quickly followed by the white towel.
“I want to be as busy as Shane,” Groves told Sky Sports.
“He’s the busiest guy I know. I feel fresh. I’m back on Sky and headlining in London. We’ll look for another big date. I’m ready to crack on.
“I’ll fight anyone, take any opportunity. We’ve been working on some things and I’m sure doors will open up quickly. In the meantime, we’ll train more with Shane and gel more.”