MOSCOW, December 1 (R-Sport) - Sergey Kovalev retained his WBO light heavyweight title in devastating fashion on Sunday, knocking out Ukrainian challenger Ismayl Sillakh less than a minute into round two in Quebec City.
After a cagey opening round the 30-year-old Russian landed a hard right hand to send Sillakh to the canvas, and finished off his bloodied opponent with the same punch after the Ukrainian took a standing eight count.
"This is the result of my hard work in the gym," said Florida-based Kovalev. "It was automatic. I wanted this fight for a very long time," added Kovalev, who takes his unbeaten record to 23 wins, 21 KOs and 1 draw. It was a second career defeat for Sillakh, who goes to 21-2.
The Chelyabinsk native, who lived up to his alias of "Krusher," said he was angling for a shot at U.S. fighter Adonis "Superman" Stevenson next, although he added: "I'm ready for any champion in my division."
That matchup came a step closer to reality after the Kovalev-Sillakh bout, when Stevenson floored mandatory challenger Tony Bellew in the sixth round to defend his WBC light heavyweight title.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.