David Haye took less than two rounds to stop Arnold Gjergjaj in his latest straightforward but searing success at The O2.
The two-weight world champion put his visitor down once in the first and twice in the second before the referee stepped in with 24 seconds still left in the second round.
Haye was clearly too powerful and was in no mood to mess about with rival Shannon Briggs, who earlier knocked out Emilio Ezequiel Zarate, threatening to steal the show.
Gjergjaj hadn’t been beaten in 29 fights but within 34 seconds of the first round and a celebrity crowd, including Jose Mourinho, Amir Khan and Danny Cipriani barely settled, he went down – a familiar and ferocious overhand right from Haye doing its usual damage.
Haye then trapped him in the corner but with the crowd chanting ‘who are ya?’, the local hero seemed in the need of some ring time and eased off, even if it was a question of seconds not minutes.
Then just after the bell had sounded, the mischievous Haye clipped another right round Gjergjaj’s head and he went down again, even if the knockdown didn’t count and the man based in Switzerland was not given 10-7 start.
Haye avoided a telling off but within 27 seconds of the second round starting a second official knockdown came, an innocuous jab sending Gjergjaj down again.
Gjergjaj did get up again, but Haye simply set about him and even if only one or two punches of an 11-shot onslaught found their way past the guard, that was enough for a third knockdown. This time the referee let him get back to his feet before wisely calling the fight off.
Haye, who started the night as the WBA’s No 6 ranked fighter with new rival Briggs one behind him, is still looking ahead at the likes of Anthony Joshua, but says he will now fight the “Chump”.
“I felt amazing,” he told Dave TV. “I felt sharp, fast and my timing was great. I had a great camp with Shane and a great support team. Everyone in Hayemaker have got together and put on an amazing event.
“I’d like to thank all the fans that have come to watch the future of the division. I know a lot of people thought I’m the past but I’m the future.
“Anthony Joshua is a fight I’d absolutely relish. I’m a fan but it’s a fight I want. Next up for me is Shannon Briggs. How did he look?
“He came to England and talked a big game. I told him I’d fight him so me and Briggs [are] on a collision course for September. Let’s go, chump!”