Manny Pacquiao secured his first knockout win since 2009 as he stopped WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse on Sunday.
The 39-year-old knocked down the Argentine as early in the third round with a stunning left uppercut that left fans in awe at the Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur.
Matthysse continued to struggled as he dropped again in the fifth before crashing down again in the seventh which saw the end of the bout after referee Kenny Bayless stepped in.
“It was a long time ago since I’ve done that. I came out smoking hot,” said Pacquiao who extended his record to 60 wins, seven losses and two draws.
“I’m surprised I knocked him down so early in the third, fifth and seventh. We did a good job in training. We were not pushing hard, we controlled our pace and ourselves.
“I’m no longer young, so thanks to my trainer and all my team members.”
A shell-shocked Matthysse, who had a record of 36 knockouts in 39 wins with just four defeats, admitted Pacquiao was the better man.
“It’s most difficult to be fighting Manny Pacquiao,” he said. “He’s a great fighter. I lost to a great legend.”
Tyson Fury will take on Francesco Pianeta in the second fight of his comeback.
The 29-year-old will face the Italian at Windsor Park in Belfast on August 18.
Fury returned to the ring after more than two years out with victory over Sefer Seferi in June, although there were elements of farce about that fight as his opponent was pulled out of the contest after four rounds.
Fury gurned and showboated his way through much of the contest and earned a ticking-off from referee Phil Edwards in a fight the 6ft 9ins boxer could have ended at any point, should be have been inclined to, before Seferi’s unsatisfactory withdrawal.
Promoter Frank Warren insists it will be a more serious Fury who climbs into the ring later in the summer.
“The ideal for us in Belfast would be to get some worthwhile rounds into Tyson,” he wrote on frankwarren.com.
“I don’t believe we will have him playing up to the crowd on this occasion because he will need to be more business-like in a riskier fight and also because of his desire to start putting a marker down once again in the heavyweight division.
Tyson Fury’s comeback appearance in June was somewhat farcical. “Tyson informs me that he has shifted a bit more weight since his first return and this fight is about continuing to nudge him towards optimum fitness, which is where he needs to be before he is really stepped up.”
Fury’s comeback in Manchester last month was his first appearance since wresting the world heavyweight title from Wladimir Klitschko more than two and a half years ago.
He cited mental health problems for falling out of love with the sport but was sidelined further after subsequently testing positive for a banned steroid in February 2015.
Unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will stage his next two fights at Wembley Stadium with a defence of his IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO belts taking place in September.
Joshua has a history of selling out huge fights, with the 28-year-old setting a post-war attendance record of 90,000 at Wembley for his 11th-round stoppage of Wladimir Klitschko in April 2017.
He has since twice filled the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, defending his belts against Carlos Takam in October before taking Joseph Parker’s WBO belt in March – with the two events in the Welsh capital pulling in over 150,000 fans.
“I am returning to Wembley after two mega fights in Cardiff,” said Joshua, announcing his September 22 return to the capital, with another fight scheduled for April 13 next year.
“I want to thank the supporters from Wales and Great Britain and also the people of London for patiently awaiting my return.
“Being north London born and raised it is in my blood. The opportunity to fight in such an iconic stadium is normally a once in career opportunity, so to be given the chance to fight there again is amazing. Wembley just added a fourth lion to the den.”
An announcement on the opponent for Joshua’s clash in September will be made next week.
However, plans are already well under way with Mayor of London Sadiq Khan working closely with Transport for London, who will postpone planned engineering works on the two dates and provide additional staff in order to cope with another anticipated sell-out.
“I’m extremely honoured to get the opportunity to promote two more shows at the national stadium and delighted for British fight fans that Anthony has made this commitment to them,” said promoter Eddie Hearn, who claimed on Twitter capacity could be increased to 100,000 for next April’s fight.
“I don’t think anyone will forget that night of April 29 against Klitschko and we plan to bring two more dramatic events to Wembley Stadium in September and April.”