The bad blood between Kiwi boxers Alex Hanan and Andrei Mikhailovich reached an explosive climax last night with their bout featuring a pre-fight cheap shot, a knockout and plenty of smack talk in between.
An undercard for the Paul Gallen v Justis Huni fight, the two middleweights have made no secret of their feelings about each other in the build-up to the fight with their verbal exchanges at an initial press conference going viral for their heated words.
The rivalry instantly rose another level seconds before the fight in Sydney last night when Hanan punched Mikhailovich in the stomach when the ref gave the fighters the chance to touch gloves in response to being called a "b****" by his opponent.
The moment sparked a reaction from the crowd and commentator Ben Damon.
"That is not in the spirit of what we're doing here," said Damon.
"Mikhailovich is not at all happy with being punched in the stomach at the touch of gloves."
It didn't take Mikhailovich long to dish out his revenge dropping Hanan in the second round twice before finishing the job with a flurry of punches that forced referee John Cauchi to step in.
Mikhailovich revealed in his winning interview another gesture from Hanan - making a gun with his hand and firing at his support crew during the press conference - also fired him up.
“You can mock me anything boxing related, but as soon as you start pulling guns and s—t like that, you take it out of the realm of boxing,” Mikhailovich said.
“When you do that, it’s offensive. So I took that to heart.
“You point a gun at my coach, and my other coach, you’re dealing with family there, so that’s why the left hook from hell came tonight.”
Mikhailovich said their plan worked to perfection for the bout.
“The whole plan was for him to walk onto me, and that’s why you saw me go, boom, that left hook, so I’m very happy with my performance.
“I’m a puncher, I’m a big puncher, my record probably doesn’t say it.
“I’ve only really learned how to punch properly in the last year or so, to really sit down on my punches."
The 23-year-old - who turned his life around through boxing after getting into trouble with alcohol and drugs as an orphan in his youth - said the rivalry was finished for him now.
“There’s no more bad blood, there’s no point, because I won. What’s the point, that’s like rubbing salt into his wounds.
“And good luck to him, I hope he doesn’t get in too much trouble, I hope he goes OK in his life.”
Mikhailovich moved to 16-0 with nine knockouts with the win while Hanan fell to 13-1.