NEWARK, New Jersey – Damian Knyba made an impressive debut Saturday night at a venue where his promoter hopes to transform him into North Jersey’s next popular Polish ticket-seller.

The 6-foot-8, 258-pound heavyweight knocked out veteran Curtis Harper in the eighth and final round of their bout on the Shakur Stevenson-Shuichiro Yoshino undercard at Prudential Center. Referee Harvey Dock stopped the action at 2:38 of the eighth round because Harper hadn’t responded to numerous punches thrown by Knyba while Harper was backed into the ropes.

Harper turned away from Knyba just before Dock stepped between them to stop the fight.

Knyba, a native of Bydgoszcz, Poland, improved to 11-0 and produced his seventh knockout. Harper (14-9, 9 KOs), of Jacksonville, Florida, lost by knockout or technical knockout for the fifth time as a pro.

Former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion Tomasz Adamek, who drew large crowds to Prudential Center for nine of his fights from 2008-2012, was among those in attendance to support Knyba. Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. signed Knyba to a promotional deal last year.

Less than a minute before the stoppage Saturday night, Knyba nearly knocked Harper to the canvas with a right hand that landed with just under a minute remaining in their fight. An opportunistic Knyba then followed Harper to the other side of the ring, where Knyba finished him off.

Harper went down to his knees about 25 seconds into the eighth round, but referee Harvey Dock ruled that it wasn’t caused by a punch.

After a couple of nondescript rounds, Knyba landed a right hand that backed Harper into his own corner after the midway mark of the seventh round.

Knyba, who suffered a cut around his left eye earlier in the fourth round, rocked Harper with a right hand in the fourth round. Harper held temporarily to prevent Knyba from building on that momentum.

Knyba knocked Harper off balance with a left hook early in the fourth round.

Harper held a lot and made their fight ugly during the second and third rounds.

Harper hit Knyba when Dock called for a break late in the first round, which caused Dock to deduct a point from him. Knyba nailed Harper with a right hand earlier in the opening round, which made Knyba hold him.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.