Artur Beterbiev returned to the ring with another knockout in Russia over the weekend.
The WBC and IBF light-heavyweight world champion had not fought since impressively unifying the belts in his win over Oleksandr Gvozdyk back in October 2019.
The coronavirus pandemic and various other delays pushed back his mandatory defence, but he finally saw off challenger Adam Deines in Moscow.
As the fight began, it looked to be a mismatch as expected.
Beterbiev floored Deines in the opening round and the end looked near.
However, the overmatched German fought back into the contest and had some success.
There were suggestions of ring rust for Beterbiev, though he remained largely in control of the contest.
Deines was hurt again on a couple of occasions as the Russian brute continued to break him down.
And the end came in round ten as a left hook scrambled the challenger’s senses and sent him crashing to the canvas.
Beterbiev retained his WBC and IBF belts, as well as his rare 100 per cent KO ratio – he is now 16-0 (16 KOs).
Despite not having had too many pro fights, time is of the essence for the 36-year-old.
He wants to unify further against the winner of Joe Smith Jr vs Maxim Vlasov (April 10) for the WBO belt.
And also against fellow elite Russian champion Dmitry Bivol who owns the WBA.
The final man on Beterbiev’s hit list is an ambitious target – Canelo Alvarez.
Canelo previously fought at light-heavyweight when he beat Sergey Kovalev in 2019, but has since moved back down to super-middleweight where he feels most comfortable.
“Canelo is a cool boxer, I like him. It will not be an obstacle to enter the ring with him if there is an offer. I would gladly fight,” Beterbiev said.