MARBELLA, SPAIN, AUG. 30 -- World welterweight champion Lloyd Honeyghan of Britain stunned U.S. challenger Gene Hatcher today, knocking him out 40 seconds into their scheduled 12-round fight to retain his World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation titles and record the fastest knockout in a world title fight.

The British and American national anthems were barely over in the Marbella bullring when the Jamaica-born Londoner threw an overhead right, a couple of left follows and Hatcher was on the canvas.

"The first punch was one of the best I've ever thrown," Honeyghan, 27, said. "That first punch could have knocked anyone out. I just let it all hang out in the first round, and it paid off. This was about the best shape I've ever been in for a fight."

The 40-second knockout bettered the previous mark of 52 seconds by Sugar Ray Robinson in his middleweight title defense against Jose Barosa on Aug. 25, 1950.

Hatcher, 28, needed help from paramedics before leaving the ring. The knockout was the first Hatcher (27-5), ranked ninth by the WBC, has suffered.

Honeyghan (31-0, 20 knockouts) reportedly earned more than $100,000 for his 40 seconds of work. The fight was originally scheduled Saturday, but was pushed back a day because of rain.