Unbeaten Russian Alexander Povetkin pounded Chris Byrd on Saturday until the American's father threw in the towel in the 11th round.
The 2004 Olympic champion, in a furious fight, took a step toward fighting world champion Wladimir Klitschko after winning the IBF elimination bout.
Povetkin had the fight wrapped up when Byrd's father Joe threw in the towel 1:52 into the round.
The pair threw punches at a rate rarely seen in a heavyweight fight. The sixth round was so fierce, the crowd broke into wild cheers.
Povetkin (14-0, with 11 knockouts), touted as a future champion, faced his toughest test yet against the two-time world champion, who lost the IBF title to Wladimir Klitschko in April last year.
"The fight was tough, very tough. He was very experienced," Povetkin said.
Povetkin, 28, next faces the winner between Eddie Chambers and Calvin Brock, who fight in Tacoma, Washington on Friday. The survivor of that eliminator meets Ukrainian Klitschko for the title.
Byrd couldn't get off the ropes during many of the early rounds, as Povetkin handed out more punishment than the American.
After the sixth round, Byrd's 13-year-old son Justin implored in the corner, "don't lay in there," to which his father replied "easier said than done."
Byrd said he had no intention of retiring after his loss, which follows two losses to Klitschko.
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