This past Saturday, saw two of the best light heavyweights champions step into the ring in separate bouts as Ring Magazine title holder Adonis Stevenson had a mandatory defense of his WBC belt against the UK’s Tony Bellew. Also on the card, WBO belt holder Sergey Kovalev was pinned against Ismayl Sillakh. The event was staged at the Colisee de Quebec in Quebec, Canada and was shown on HBO as a possible build up to a fight between the two champions.
Kovalev was first up against the once beaten Sillakh, and as the fight began, Sillakh was looking to use his footwork to keep the fight at a distance, showing that he had no interest in trading with the heavy handed Kovalev. However it didn’t take long before Kovalev was able to land a heavy right hand early in the second round which floored Sillakh, leaving him badly hurt. Seconds after the knockdown, Sergey Kovalev landed two more blows which ended the night for the Ukrainian fighter. With the win Sergey Kovalev improved his record to 23-0 with 21 knockouts.
The main event saw the heavy favorite Adonis Stevenson pitted against Tony Bellew, a fighter who earned his shot at the title by getting himself to the number 1 position with the WBC. Stevenson started the bout as the aggressor, with Bellew looking to pick off Stevenson from a distance. In the third round, Stevenson opened up and landed several right crosses to the body and to the head which stunned Bellew towards the end of the round.
In the following round, both fighters began to exchange blows and Bellew seemed to have some success by pressuring Adonis and not giving him the space to set up his punches, but he was unable to continue his attack, so Stevenson was able to carry out with his game plan.
Bellew absorbed all he could, but in round six, Stevenson scored a knock down with a hard left hand shot. Tony Bellew was unable to fully recover and took a barrage of shots up against the ropes which forced the referee to stop the fight giving Adonis Stevenson a TKO 6 win.
With both fighters coming away with impressive stoppage wins, the natural fight that fans and the media would like to see would be a unification bout between Stevenson and Kovalev. During their post fight interviews however, it seemed as though only one has interest in fighting the other, as Kovalev expressed a desire to meet Stevenson in the ring, while Adonis insisted that the fans preferred to see him face a 48 year old Bernard Hopkins or a smaller champion in Carl Froch.
Anyone that watched the fights from this past Saturday night just has one fight in mind, and if Stevenson wants to fool himself into thinking that it’s not a match up with Sergey Kovalev, then he can go right ahead and do that, but he won’t fool the fans that will see him fighting anyone else as a clear duck of someone that is proving to be one of the most dangerous punchers in the sport.
With Bernard Hopkins putting on a show against Karo Murat, and with Stevenson and Kovalev dazzling crowds with their stoppage wins, light heavyweight is quickly becoming one of the most exiting divisions in boxing. With 2014 shortly upon us, I have now added Stevenson-Kovalev to my wish list for the new year.