Savannah Marshall ensured she is one step closer to a showdown with Claressa Shields as she defended her world title in style.
The Hartlepool puncher brilliantly stopped Lolita Muzeya in the second round of her WBO middleweight crown clash at the Utilita Arena.
Marshall, who recently left Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing to team up with Sky Sports and Boxxer, was in action against the Zambian challenger in Newcastle.
Muzeya pressured Marshall in the early parts of the contest and the former WBC Silver female titlist at welterweight paid for her good start as she was taken out by ‘The Silent Assassin’ inside two rounds.
The visitor landed a punch within seconds and chased Marshall in a frenzy, forcing the champion to first defend herself then fire back with urgency.
By the end of the opener, Marshall had cracked Muzeya with a massive uppercut and several more counter punches to eventually have the better of the round.
The bravery and willpower of Muzeya wouldn’t allow her to take a single backwards step and, although the Peter Fury-trained knockout artist withstood some difficult moments, she exploded with a vicious stoppage.
Marshall broke Muzeya’s resistance with a series of unanswered punches, punctuated with a brutal straight right that forced the referee Michael Alexander to step in with just two seconds remaining of the second stanza.