Welshman Cleverly is closing in on a world title fight
European light-heavyweight champion Nathan Cleverly closed in on a world title shot after defeating Karo Murat in Birmingham on Saturday.
The Welshman was taking on Murat in an official final eliminator for the WBO title and showed his class with a 10th-round stoppage of his opponent.
Cleverly, 23, is now unbeaten in 20 fights with 10 of those finishing inside the scheduled finish.
Also on the bill, Enzo Maccarinelli was knocked out by Alexander Frenkel.
Earlier, Cleverly added to his growing reputation with a stunning performance at the LG Arena.
The WBO title could become vacant if champion Juergen Braehmer fails in his appeal against a 16-month prison sentence for assault and insulting behaviour.
Cleverly was the busier fighter from the first bell with a fine left hook and a later right-hand uppercut rocking his previously undefeated opponent.
They stood toe-to-toe in the second, with Cleverly again succeeding with the uppercut and landing the cleaner shots against a durable opponent who, to his credit, took the Welshman's punches and came back with his own.
Germany-based Iraqi Murat looked bewildered by Cleverly's explosive start to the fight, walking on to a solid right in the third but rallied late in the round, catching his opponent with several fierce shots.
Cleverly worked the jab in the fourth but Murat again found the target as the pace of the fight noticeably slowed, which suited the 27-year-old, who came back into the contest with some eye-catching punches.
The tear-up continued in the fifth as the pair stood toe-to-toe and traded punches, with Cleverly's huge left-hand bombs catching Murat continuously in the sixth, rocking him several times.
Murat was cut across the bridge of his nose in the eighth as Cleverly stepped up the intensity, the Cefn Fforest man using his reach advantage to box at distance and break down the spirit of his opponent, who was again wobbled with an uppercut on the bell.
And a huge right rocked Murat early in the ninth, but he refused to give up catching Cleverly twice just to remind him of the threat he posed.
But as the boxers came out for the 10th round, the referee ended the brutal contest on the advice of the doctor.
European cruiserweight champion Maccarinelli looked nervy and tentative in the opening round against Frenkel.
But the Welshman soon started working his jab and also unleashing his booming right, with Frenkel giving as good as got unloading shots of his own.
Enzo Maccarinelli was knocked out in the seventh round
The Ukrainian-born, Germany-based fighter caught his Swansea opponent with a fine left in the third, with Maccarinelli missing badly on several occasions with his timing off.
But Maccarinelli hurt Frenkel with a trademark right in the fourth, and the fifth round was shaded by the Welshman who landed the cleaner shots.
A clash of heads opened up a small cut around the top of Maccarinelli's right eye as he responded with a lovely uppercut before dominating the sixth round.
Frenkel seemed more interested in staying away from Maccarinelli's punches than throwing his own in the seventh but then unleashed a left hook out of nowhere and sent the Welshman to the canvas.
Maccarinelli managed to pick himself up and although he survived the eight-count the referee Erkki Meronen should have stopped the fight.
Instead he was knocked out in sickening fashion within three punches.
The Swansea man needed treatment from ringside medics and was on the canvas for five minutes where he was given oxygen as a precaution.
It was the 30-year-old's fifth defeat of a 37-fight career as Frenkel claimed his European crown.