Miguel Berchelt made easy work of replacement opponent Maxwell Awuku Saturday night at Oasis Arena in Cancun, stopping him in the third round to defend his WBC super featherweight title.
Berchelt (33-1, 29 KO's), 26, of Mexico, was initially slated to fight Cristian Mijares, but the 36-year-old was forced to withdraw due to contract issues.
Then, Filipino fighter Carlo "The Ferocious" Magali (23-9-3, 12 KO's) stepped up, but the Philippines' Games and Amusements Board ruled he was ineligible due to the close proximity of his most recent fight, a 10th-round TKO victory over Masatoshi Kotani on Jan. 13.
Berchelt dropped Awuku midway into the third round with a right hand. The challenger didn't seem badly hurt, but ate another series of punches and fell to the canvas.
Awuku had a heart of steel and tried to fight on, but Berchelt poured it on, and referee Hector Afu halted the action.
Berchelt has won his last 12 fights since suffering a first-round knockout to Luis Eduardo Florez in 2014, when the champion was an up-and-comer. He won a secondary super featherweight world title in March 201 with a sixth-round stoppage of George Jupp.
Berchelt defended the belt once before winning the WBC title in January 2017 with an 11th-round knockout of former titlist Francisco Vargas, and defended the title last July with a one-sided unanimous decision victory over Takashi Miura.
Both of those fights were featured on HBO.