Wladimir Klitschko needed just six rounds to knock out Francesco Pianeta and retain his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles.
The Ukrainian was dominant from the outset at the SAP Arena in Mannheim, Germany, landing a right to the face of Pianeta early in the opening round to stamp his authority on the contest.
Klitschko never let his grip on the fight slip as round after round he chipped away at Pianeta, with the Italian appearing on a survival mission, with his offence severely limited.
Such a strategy was never going to be successful and the 28-year-old challenger was knocked to the canvas in the fourth round after a clinical combination from Klitschko.
Pianeta was quickly back to his feet to see out the round but he was knocked down once more in the fifth round as a jab-cross combination floored him to an eight count.
Again, Pianeta made it into the next round but there would be no recovery, with a three-punch combination prompting the referee to bring the fight to a halt with eight seconds left in the round.
That completed a somewhat facile 60th career victory for the 37-year-old champion.