Sydney super middleweight Bilal Akkawy's seemingly inevitable journey to global boxing stardom has continued with a dominant win on the sport's biggest stage in New York.
Akkaway maintained his unbeaten record with a seventh-round stoppage win over Mexican Victor Fonseca in the undercard to Sunday's middleweight world championship showdown at Madison Square Garden.
The referee stopped the fight with Akkawy unloading on Fonseca on the ropes, taking the 25-year-old's record to 19 wins and a draw with 14 knockouts.
Lauded as one of Australia's heaviest hitters, Akkawy's big opportunity came after his explosiveness captured the attention of superstar Canelo Alvarez in May.
Having sparred in Australia with Sonny Bill Williams, Anthony Mundine, Daniel Geale and Nader Hamdan, an Instagram video of Akkawy training was sent to Alvarez's trainer Eddy Reynoso.
In a "surreal" life-changing experience, Akkaway accepted an invitation to spar with Alvarez in the lead-up to the Mexican's showdown with Gennady Golovkin in September.
Also on Saturday night, at the Exhibition and Convention Centre Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, the WBO's top rated junior middleweight contender, Dennis Hogan (27-1-1, 7 KOs) won a lopsided twelve round unanimous decision over Jamie Weetch (12-2, 5 KOs).
The scores were 117-111, 118-110, and 119-109.
Hogan is now buying his time before the sanctioning body orders a mandatory crack at WBO junior middleweight champion Jamie Munguia.
Over at the Parkovy Convention Center in Ukraine, World Boxing Association flyweight champion Artem Dalakian (18-0, 13 KOs) retained his world title with a sixth round stoppage of Gregorio Lebron (21-5, 16 KOs). The challenger was down three times before the contest was waved off.