David Price's unbeaten record was shattered by former world title challenger Tony Thompson in Liverpool tonight as he crashed to a stunning second-round stoppage loss.

The British champion was making the biggest step up of his 15-fight career at the Echo Arena having blasted away all of his recent opponents.

American Thompson, whose two significant losses had come against WBA, IBF and WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko, was viewed as a serious test for the Liverpudlian but Price was expected to pass with flying colours in front of nearly 6,000 fans.

However, he started somewhat tentatively and was stunned when a right hook to the ear knocked him senseless and left referee Steve Gray with little option but to stop the fight.

The 6ft 8ins Briton had his long-term sights set on a clash with either Wladimir Klitschko or the Ukrainian's brother Vitali, the WBC champion, in the next 12 months.

Price, who before tonight had claimed 13 of his 15 professional wins by knock-out, knew he had the chance to prove his credibility against 41-year-old Thompson (36-3, 24KOs) and make a statement to his heavyweight rivals.

He began with a one-stone weight disadvantage against the somewhat fleshy veteran, who stood three inches shorter.

Price held ring centre from the first bell as Thompson began tentatively. A glancing right hand early by Price was not followed up until a minute later when a stronger straight right registered, while southpaw Thompson landed a couple of body shots in an otherwise quiet round.

A messy right hand did enough to trap Thompson briefly in Price's corner but the older man tied up and got himself out of harm's way.

Thompson was at least landing in response and he stunned the overwhelming favourite midway through round two, hammering home a right hook which flattened Price.

The Liverpudlian rose but was on horribly wobbly legs, prompting referee Gray to wave it off and confirm the stunning upset after two minutes and 17 seconds of the round.

"I told you so," an overjoyed Thompson shouted. "I told you not to fall for the tricks."