Martin Bakole broke Kevin Johnson’s renowned resistance to force a fifth-round stoppage of the American veteran in Newcastle.
The Scotland-based heavyweight was forced to cope with a late change of opponent, with Johnson replacing the injured Gabriel Enguema, but Bakole produced steady pressure from the opening bell to become only the third man to halt his 40-year-old opponent.
Johnson had taken Daniel Dubois the distance in a points loss last year and was content to stay tucked up behind a defensive shell as Bakole probed for early openings with a cluster of punches.
But the former world title challenger showed signs of distress in the third round, turning away following a sustained attack from Bakole, who began to land his right hand with regularity in the fourth.
Johnson’s tight guard would unravel in the fifth as Bakole jolted his head back with a succession of punches to force the referee’s intervention.
On the same bill, Lawrence Osueke was forced to settle for a split-decision draw with Ricky Summers after a scrappy encounter.