Tony Bellew has revealed his dramatic defeat of David Haye meant he had "achieved everything I'd got into boxing for".
Haye was withdrawn in the 11th round at London's 02 Arena when a suspected Achilles injury left him barely able to stand or defend himself from the improving, fitter Bellew.
He had looked slow and clumsy when compared to his peak even before the sixth, when the injury occured, but bravely persisted until the 11th when trainer Shane McGuigan belatedly threw in the towel after he had been knocked through the ropes.
The 36-year-old Haye had been taken straight to hospital after the fight concluded, but despite talking up a rematch may struggle to fight again.
It was while off balance in the sixth that the injury occurred, and he thereafter remained largely immobile and barely able to stay on his feet, suffering official knockdowns in the sixth and 11th rounds amid the numerous times he hit the canvas.
Evertonian Bellew, who was fighting for the first time at heavyweight, insisted victory could not "touch the sides" of the 2016 night he became WBC cruiserweight champion against Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park.
The victory will likely be remembered as the finest of his career, but he said that for him, in securing his family's financial future he had achieved his final ambition.
"I've achieved what I got in boxing for tonight," said Bellew, 34. "I just made my three kids wealthy.
"If it was about me I could have quit after Goodison. I made my three kids wealthy.
"Just before the stoppage I looked at David and said 'Please stop. I'm not here to hurt people'. He shook his head and laughed. I looked at Shane and said 'Stop it'.
"He has got a good chin. He took the right hands all night, but it's the left hook that he didn't see, and it just made him collapse and fall out the ring, and it was over.
"I know he said he was going to put me in hospital and on a stretcher but that was never my intention: he's got two kids and kids need a dad.
"I told him 'Thank you, you've helped me secure the kid's future', and he said 'No, thank you for making such a great fight, I can't believe you're still standing'.
"It is my last 12 months (as a fighter) . I could walk away happy. I've started to actually hate this, in all honesty."
Haye's midweek trip to Munich was followed by reports he had suffered an Achilles injury, after which he insisted he was fit to fight and which Bellew responded to by telling him he had no excuses but to fight.
His reputation had previously suffered when after his 2011 defeat by Wladimir Klitschko he blamed a toe injury before being accused of lacking heart, but he admirably refused to withdraw even when exhausted and with little choice.
"If I'd not labelled him mentally weak it'd have been over after five," Bellew said. "I do believe I got into his mind.
"He gets an awful lot of admiration from me. He was an amazing fighter. You don't understand how hard he hits.
"I didn't think this would ever be possible. (But) I've got too much respect for him to make that call (over whether Haye should retire)."