O2 Arena, London - Filip Hgrovic maintained his No.1 position with the IBF - but it was not pretty.
The big Croatian stopped Demsey McKean after 1:01 of the 12th round when a big right hook hurt him.
McKean stayed on his feet but he did not know where he was and Hrgovic crashed home a series of right hands, some of which seemed to land on the back of his head.
Marcus McDonnell told Hrgovic to stop punching and McKean stumbled away giving the referee little choice but to wave off the fight.
It provided a full stop to what had been an otherwise laborious contest during which the two styles did not gel.
But, it is job done for Hrgovic who can now look forward to being called as the mandatory challenger for the IBF title once Oleksandr Usyk and Daniel Dubois fight in Poland later this month.
Hrgovic, 31, will need to be better than he was here at the o2 Arena if he hopes to win that title from either man involved there.
Although this was not vintage Hrgovic, he still dominated most of the fight from behind his high guard against his southpaw opponent.
He certainly had the better of things early on and his right hand, which he looped over the top or brought up through the middle, found its target on a couple of occasions in round one.
It was the left hook that Hrgovic landed with the most venom in the second round as he was starting to find openings a bit more regularly. McKean, meanwhile, was always attempting to counter but was having limited success.
Hrgovic got through again in the fourth with a big right hand but McKean. In fact it was the ‘Tower’ from Australia who ended the round by landing a left hand of his own.
The fifth was a good one for McKean, who started to throw with more conviction and got through with a couple more straight left hands from his southpaw stance. But it was Hrgovic who landed the shot of the round, following up a range-finding jab with a hard right hand.
But, in truth, clean work was at a premium and referee Marcus McDonnell was forced to call a time out and tell them both to tidy up their work. The pep talk did not exactly work.
However, Hrgovic seemed to hurt McKean in the ninth with a huge right hand and he followed it up with a left hook to the body. Another two right hands landed before the bell as the Croatian attempted to find a meaningful breakthrough.
In the 11th, McKean managed to push Hrgovic back onto the ropes and attempted to get to work. However, it was the Croatian who still had the most success, defending himself and countering with short right hands up close.
And Hrgovic finally found a way through in the 12th and McDonnell waved it off with McKean clearly in no fit state to continue.