Dillian Whyte's world title hopes vanished in the blink of an eye as he was knocked out by Alexander Povetkin in a stunning upset.
The Londoner only needed to beat the ageing Russian to rubber-stamp his shot at Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder next year.
And Whyte was in control through the first four rounds as he out-jabbed and out-thought his challenger.
And after Povetkin was dropped twice in the fourth round, the writing looked to be on the wall for the 40-year-old.
But he showed there is life in the old dog yet when he landed a stunning left uppercut which left Whyte out cold on the canvas.
He needed medical attention but was able to rise to his feet but quickly left the ring as the magnitude of his defeat began to sink in.
"I didn't feel that I would finish the fight like this but I was pretty confident. I went down twice in the fourth round but it was OK, there was not much damage," said Povetkin.
"I was watching his fights and took down and that he missed uppercuts from the left and right so in training I trained those shots.
"It was probably one of the best shots of my career.
"My future plans do not depend on me, that depends on my promoter and Eddie Hearn."
Whyte opened as the long odds-on favourite for a fight he did not need to take.
It had been due to take place in Manchester in May before the coronavirus crisis suspended all sport across the world.
Whyte insisted he wanted to honour the agreement and the fight was made for Eddie Hearn's back garden for his final Fight Camp show.
But his gamble backfired in stunning fashion and the Londoner is now faced with the prospect of a rematch with Povetkin rather than a world title shot.
Earlier, Katie Taylor retained her lightweight world titles with a unanimous points decision over Delfine Persoon.
Taylor was pushed to the limit for the second time by Persoon at Matchroom HQ in Essex, but the judges' scorecards were 98-93, 96-94, 96-94 in her favour.
"I knew it was going to be tough and I had to dig deep at some stage in the fight," Taylor told Sky Sports.
"But I thought I boxed better than the last time, even though I got drawn in a few times, and that's what got me the win in the end.
"You can't relax against Delfine, you know she's going to come and come and we've had two amazing fights.
"I thought it was a lot more convincing tonight."
This was a highly-anticipated rematch after their controversial contest in New York in June 2019.
Taylor won a contentious points decision at Madison Square Garden on a night when many observers felt Persoon had done enough to get the verdict.
Taylor started well in Saturday's second encounter and pushed Persoon back with a couple of strong left hooks.
Persoon was heavily marked under the right eye in the second round as Taylor continued to dominate.
But the Belgian's high work-rate began to trouble Taylor and the Irish champion also sustained a nasty swelling on her forehead.
Persoon refused to take a backward step and she landed a high volume of shots, with her right hand proving highly effective.
Taylor responded with a burst of punches on the bell as Persoon tumbled to the floor almost in exhaustion.
Person, who said after the fight she might have broken her nose in the second round, was gracious in defeat and felt Taylor had done enough to retain her WBC, IBF, WBO and WBA titles.
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