Florian Marku climbed off the canvas to stop Rylan Charlton in the eighth round

Florian Marku pounded Rylan Charlton to a halt after overcoming a surprise knockdown and then issued a challenge to welterweight rival Conor Benn.

‘The Albanian King’ toppled to the canvas in the sixth round, but then forced the stoppage with a ferocious response and called for a future clash with Benn, who was watching from ringside as part of the Sky Sports team.

In a lively opening round, Charlton delivered a thumping right hand, drawing a defiant smile from Marku who replied with a string of stiff jabs.

Marku swaggered through the second, talking to Charlton as he landed more jabs and crisp right hands.

Charlton was punished with more stinging counters in the third, and the Norfolk man appeared in serious trouble when he staggered through the closing seconds of the fourth following a big right hand from Marku.

Uncorking an eye-catching uppercut, Marku appeared in complete control in the fifth, but he suffered a shock knockdown in the next round after a looping left hand from Charlton.

The grin had gone from Marku while he withstood more hooks in the seventh, although Charlton’s courageous rally was ended in the eighth.

Marku ripped in punches with savage intent on the weary Charlton, prompting the towel to be thrown in.

Earlier in the evening, Robbie Davies Jr suffered a heartbreaking slender points defeat to Gabriel Valenzuela.

The former European champion was floored by a right hand in the third round, but the Mexican was then docked a point for punching after the break in the fourth.

A gritty revival from Davies Jr nearly unravelled when he was hurt again in the final round and Valenzuela received victory with two scores of 96-95, 96-95, with the third judge scoring it a 94-94 draw.

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