Sergey Kovalev vs Igor Mikhalkin – Highlights (Kovalev KNOCKS OUT Mikhalkin)


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March 3rd, 2018. Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev takes on his friend and former Olympic team mate; the slick southpaw Igor Mikhalkin in the first defense of his WBO Light Heavyweight Championship (second reign).

Prefight records; Kovalev 31(27)-2-1, Mikhalkin 21(9)-1.

This was Kovalev’s second fight since his controversial loss in a rematch against P4P Great Andre Ward back in June 2017; where referee Tony Weeks halted the bout while he was hurt by a number of hard low blows thrown by Ward. Although Ward had gained momentum earlier and appeared en route to victory, many felt the stoppage was unjust due to the fact that Ward was hurting Sergey with punches below the belt.

Kovalev and Ward first met in November 2016, in a battle for the Undisputed Light Heavyweight Championship. After 12 exciting tactical rounds, Ward relieved Kovalev of his IBF, WBA & WBO Light Heavyweight Titles via a razor slim UD12; all 3 judges scored it 114-113 for Ward.

Going into the fight against Mikhalkin, Kovalev had notable wins over Gabriel Campillo, Nathan Cleverly, Bernard Hopkins, Isaac Chilemba & Jean Pascal (2x).

From the opening bell, Kovalev largely dominated the challenger with thudding blows to the face. Mikhalkin managed to connect with some clean shots, but unable to hurt the defending world champion due to his lack of power.

Towards the end of the 6th round, Mikhalkin suffered cuts under his right eye and on the bridge of his nose from a right left combination by Kovalev. Additionally, he was bleeding out of his nose.

The Russian powerhouse continued his assault in the 7th and with 35 seconds left in the round, referee Steve Willis called a halt to the bout at the advice of the ringside physician as Mikhalkin’s cuts were opened up again with his face badly busted up by the Krusher.

Although Kovalev was in no apparent danger through the fight and outpunched the challenger by 143 total shots, but it was noted by a number of observers that Mikhalkin was able to land clean shots on him; which raised the question as to whether he could take the same kind of blows dispensed by a harder puncher?

The questioned appeared to have been answered 5 months later when he was shockingly stopped by Eleider Alvarez while ahead in the scorecards. Kovalev was boxing well until he got cold-cocked with a big right hand that sent him to the canvas, followed by 2 more knockdowns that prompted referee David Fields to step in.

After the defeat, many felt Kovalev was no longer the same as he was mentally ruined by his 2 setbacks to Ward as well as fallout with then trainer John David Jackson, who once led him to victories over a number of top oppositions.

He proceeded to hire Buddy McGirt as his new trainer.

Going into the Alvarez rematch, most predicted he would be knocked out once again.

However, the underdog Kovalev impressively avenged his loss by outboxing Alvarez en route to a clear cut UD12 to become the WBO Light Heavyweight Champion for the third time. The pairing with McGirt seem to have also resulted in new found discipline and mental fortitude for the power punching Russian.

It was a truly remarkable comeback win for Kovalev who silenced his critics, who believed the rematch would be an impending second defeat and possibly retirement from the sport.

Will Kovalev be a dominant force in the division once again? Considering the presence of great talents such as Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, Marcus Browne, Badou Jack & Oleksandr Gvozdyk? Let me know in the comments!

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