Russian power-puncher Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev is the new WBO light-heavyweight champion after a one-sided and painful victory over Nathan Cleverly in the Welshman’s hometown of Cardiff.
The 30 year-old from Chelyabinsk, who now fights out of the USA, came out with real intent from the first bell as Cleverly clearly struggled with the shear strength of Kovalev, and it seemed to be a matter of time from very early on in the contest.
Kovalev hurt Cleverly repeatedly throughout the first two rounds and eventually dropped him heavily in the third with one of many crushing combinations. Cleverly was considerably shaky on his feet as he rose to his feet almost immediately, to prove the considerable hype surrounding Kovalev’s knockout record correct.
Cleverly amazingly was allowed to come out for the fourth round, despite having gone down again at the end of the previous session and after just seconds of more punishing shots, Terry O’Connor did what he should have done the round before and ended the punishment.
The loss is the first of Cleverly’s career and in the process pushes Kovalev into the elite of the division – with his record now standing at 22-0-1 with 20 stoppages and nineteen of which have come within four rounds.
A potential unification with Bernard Hopkins could now be on the cards for Kovalev in early 2014 with Cleverly facing a huge rebuilding job after what was a damaging defeat beamed live to America.