Just one hook. That's all it took.
Deontay Wilder wasn't exactly an offensive juggernaut through the first eight rounds of his third WBC heavyweight title defense on Saturday night against Artur Szpilka, but he didn't need to be.
Instead, the 30-year-old Alabama native displayed his signature power in the final minute of Round 9, throwing a short, sharp right hook inside of Szpilka's looping left and leaving the Polish-born slugger flat on his back for the 10-count and more to cement a KO win at 2:24 of the ninth.
Szpilka ultimately left the ring on a hospital-bound stretcher, and his absence was quickly filled by the presence of IBO/WBA/WBO champion Tyson Fury, who engaged Wilder in a boisterous series of back and forth challenges before a riveted crowd at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
"You're a bum," Fury said.
"This is just an act," Wilder replied. "You ain't a real fighter."
The two continued lobbing verbal grenades and Wilder left little doubt, at least on the surface, that a unification is ultimately what he's after.
"I would love to have him next," he told Showtime's Jim Gray. "He knows where to find me. I've been here all along. Make the date and we're there. I promise you."
It was Wilder's first appearance in the Empire State, too, after previous U.S. stops in Tennessee, Mississippi, Ohio, Illinois, Arizona, Nevada, California, Louisiana, Alabama and New Jersey.
It was the first title fight for Szpilka, 26, who'd won his first 16 pro fights from 2008 to 2013 before a 10th-round stoppage loss to Bryant Jennings in January 2014. He'd since begun working with veteran trainer Ronnie Shields and entered the weekend on a four-bout win streak.
In the TV card's first match, Charles Martin became the IBF heavyweight champion at the Barclays Center after his opponent, Vyacheslav Glazkov, injured his knee during the third round and was ultimately unable to continue at 1:50.
Glazkov was the No. 1 contender coming in, and Martin was No. 3. The title had been declared vacant since soon after Fury beat then-IBF champ Wladimir Klitschko in November.