Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev & Bivol Win Big Saturday at MSG
Main Event Promotions (Kathy Duva) brought in a pair of World Light Heavyweight Title fights Saturday night at the Madison Square Garden in New York City, over HBO.
WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 33-2-1 (28), of Russia and Ft. Lauderdale, FL, stopped Igor Mikhalkin, 21-2 (9), of Hamburg, Germany at 2:25 of the seventh round due to bad cuts.
In the first round it was obvious Kovalev had too much power for Mikhalkin having his way throughout. In the second round Kovalev hurt a backpedaling Mikhalkin. In the third round Kovalev kept scoring well especially with his right. At the halfway point Mikhalkin finally landed his left to the chin of Kovalev. Kovalev came right back busting up Mikahlkin with blood coming from under his right eye and on his nose that was bleeding.
In the fourth through the sixth rounds Kovalev continued the beating of Mikhalkin to the point his corner or the referee should stop the fight. In the seventh round the ring physician called a halt as the round was about to start checking Mikhalkin. The referee called the ring physician and referee Steve Willis called a halt.
WBA Light Heavyweight Champion Dmitry Bivol, 13-0 (11), of KYR and St. Petersburg, RUS, stopped the No. 1 ranked Sullivan Barrera, 21-2 (14), of Cuba and Miami, FL, at 1:41 of the 12th and final round.
In the first round both boxers were very active with Barrera doing better through the first half of the round. Barrera landed a solid right to the chin of Bivol with a minute left in the round. Bivol landed a 3-punch combination just prior to the bell. In the second round Bivol rocked Barrera with a right to the chin. There was blood trickling from Bivol’s right eye in the outside corner. Bivol landed a pair of left hooks to the head of Barrera. Bivol showed more power but Barrera more active. It looked like a clash of heads caused the cut.
In the third round Bivol continued to be the aggressor. Bivol landed a 3-punch combination. A clash of heads caused a slight stoppage as referee Harvey Dock checked both fighters. Barrera landed a combination to the body and head but was countered by a Bivol right to the head. In the fourth round Barrera landed a combination to the chin of Bivol. Bivol came back with a flurry of punches backing up Barrera. Bivol was quicker than Barrera who gets his share of punches in but not as many as Bivol.
In the fifth round Bivol countered with a lead right and left hook to the chin of Barrera. Bivol landed a hard left hook to the head after taking a combination from Barrera. In the sixth round Barrera comes out throwing punches. Both are exchanging well with Barrera having the edge through the first half of the round. It looks even after 6 rounds.
In the seventh round Bivol lands a lead right to the body of Barrera. Bivol’s hand speed is bothering Barrera. A Bivol right rocked Barrera with half a minute left in the round. In the eighth round both boxers had their moments but Bivol ended the round landing heavy punches. Bivol had a knot over his left eye at the end of the round.
In the ninth round Bivol and Barrera had their moments. Barrera seemed to have a slight edge. In the tenth round Bivol’s activity seemed to slow down but Barrera face shows the heavy punches from Bivol. In the eleventh round Bivol uses his jab more following up with a solid right to the chin of Barrera. Bivol landed a solid right to the body of Barrera but was countered with a right.
In the twelfth and final round Bivol puts a lot of pressure on Barrera. At the halfway point Bivol dropped a beaten Barrera with a jab and straight right to the chin. Referee Dock took a look at Barrera and wisely called it. This writer had it 105-103 Bivol at time of stoppage.
“I felt I could knock him out coming out for the twelfth. I need more experience and defenses before I could be considered the best,” said Bivol. Bivol is a breath of fresh air in this division after a boring Ward.