Anthony Yarde knocked out Stefani Koykov in three rounds to secure a world title against unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev.
Yarde, 31, made short work of the previously undefeated Koykov, knocking him down with a short uppercut to end the fight.
The win secures Yarde a shot at the WBC, IBF and WBO world titles held by the undefeated Beterbiev.
Yarde fights Beterbiev on January 28 at the OVO Arena in London.
“It wasn’t perfect, I don’t think it’s possible, but that’s what we’re looking for,” Yarde said after the fight.
“I have so much confidence for this next fight.”
Yarde peppered Koykov with shots in a solid first round and went to the body in the second, piercing shots into his opponent’s ribs whenever the opportunity arose.
With little feedback from Koykov, Yarde stepped on the gas on lap three. He hurt Koykov with a right hand to the body and a left hook to the head.
Koykov retreated into the ropes only for Yarde to hit him with two left hooks before a quick, clean uppercut knocked the Bulgarian down.
The victory extends Yarde’s unbeaten streak to three after bouncing back from defeat to domestic rival Lydon Arthur in their late 2020 rematch.
Yarde also returned from an 11-month layoff and now has an impressive 22 knockouts in 23 wins.
The fight against Beterbiev will be Yarde’s second attempt to become world champion after losing to the WBO champion. Sergei Kovalev in Russia in 2019.
Kovalev stopped Yarde in the eleventh round after a spirited display from the East London fighter.
This time Yarde will have the comforts of home as Beterbiev has agreed to travel to England to defend his three titles for the first time.
Beterbiev, 37, added the WBO title to his collection in June when he quit American Joe Smith Jr in two sets.
“I never back down from a challenge, and Anthony Yarde is one of the top contenders who asked for this fight. I’m looking forward to fighting in London for the first time since the Olympics,” Beterbiev said.
“Yarde called me ‘slow’ after my fight with Joe Smith Jr, but slow and steady wins the race.”
The Russian is undefeated in 18 fights with a perfect knockout record as one of boxing’s most feared finishers.