Jai Opetaia didn’t care who was in front of him. The message was going to be delivered that he is still the baddest cruiserweight on the planet.

Ellis Zorro was the unfortunate victim, as an overhand left flattened the unbeaten but overmatched Brit. No count was necessary as the lineal/Ring Magazine cruiserweight championship was immediately halted at 2:56 of round one Saturday at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

“He was very hesitant, he wasn’t engaging much,” Opetaia told DAZN’s Chris Mannix during an in-ring interview that lasted longer than the bout itself. “He was a bit too hesitant and he got clipped.”

Preceding the fight itself was an emotionally charged fight week outside the ring, where Sydney’s Opetaia was forced to vacate his IBF cruiserweight title. The unbeaten southpaw was previously ordered to face Latvia’s Mairis Brieidis, whom he beat to win the belt last July and was ordered to face in a mandatory title defense. Briedis hadn’t fought since that night but was elevated to the top position.

Opetaia instead chose to become part of the ‘Day of Reckoning’ show, driven more by financial reward than whatever belt is at stake in the literal definition of a prizefighter.

Zorro (17-1, 7KOs) was a longshot underdog headed into the night, even more so than unbeaten countryman Jordan Thompson whom Opetaia tore through in less than four rounds on September 30 at OVO Arena Wembley in London. Opetaia was patient against the reluctant first-time challenger. He boxed his way through a steady opening round until he saw the opening for his left hand. One shot was all it took to put Zorro on the deck and end the fight.

The celebration was briefly muted as Opetaia (24-0, 19KOs) showed concern as medical attention was paid to his fallen challenger. The win marked his second championship defense.

Opetaia-Zorro was part of an eight-fight Pay-Per-View show and one of two championships on the night. Anthony Joshua-Otto Wallin and Deontay Wilder-Joseph Parker co-headline the event.

Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox