Oleksandr Usyk said he is "ready tomorrow" to face Tyson Fury in an undisputed world heavyweight fight after retaining his titles with a controversial stoppage win over Daniel Dubois in Wroclaw, Poland on Saturday.
Usyk successfully defended his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight world titles with a ninth-round stoppage of Britain's Dubois, who felt he had been "cheated" out of victory after referee Luis Pabon ruled he had struck Usyk with a low blow in the fifth round, which led to a lengthy delay.
The former undisputed cruiserweight world champion required three minutes and 45 seconds to recover before the fight resumed and he reclaimed control of the fight.
Usyk dropped Dubois down on one knee in the eighth round after landing with several punches to the head. The challenger just beat the count before the bell sounded for the end of the round.
But the fight was all over in the next, with Usyk sending Dubois onto the canvas. This time the Briton was unable to get back to his feet before the referee counted to 10 as Usyk extended his perfect professional record to 21 wins from 21 bouts.
"I feel good. I am grateful for my team, my family, my children. I love you," Usyk told TNT Sports. "I'm grateful for my country. Thank you so much."
The big talk at the top of the heavyweight division is when, or even if, Usyk will face fellow unbeaten champion Fury, who holds the WBC belt - the fourth of the world titles.
Asked about the prospect of a unification bout with Fury, Usyk replied: "I'm ready tomorrow".
Dubois, however, was adamant his punch in the fifth round was legitimate, saying: "I didn't think that was a low blow, I thought it landed and that I've been cheated out of it tonight. I'll come again."
Promoter Frank Warren added: "It wasn't a low blow. I wish they could put it up on there now and we could all see it. They didn't take any points off him.
"I like Usyk, but that was a complete 'home' decision. He was not fit to go on and they gave him a couple of minutes to recover... The governing bodies will have to look at that and order a rematch."
Usyk, 36, was roared on by a large contingent of Ukrainian fans, with many of his compatriots now living in Poland following Russia's invasion of their country last year.
Usyk had the better of the early exchanges but rank outsider Dubois, a 25-year-old Londoner, defied predictions he'd suffer an early defeat.
Then came Dubois's controversial punch in the fifth, which may have been on the belt line in some eyes.
After the bout resumed, Dubois attacked and traded punches with Usyk.
The ill-feeling between the duo was visible at the end of the round and Dubois continued his attack to the body in the sixth.
But Usyk started to dominate from then on, dropping Dubois in the eighth round before charging in again in the ninth, flooring the challenger once more before the referee waved the fight off.