COLOMBIA’S Eleider Alvarez stunned WBO light-heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev, stopping the Russian in seven intense rounds at the Hard Rock hotel and casino in Atlantic City. Alvarez started out jabbing quickly but Kovalev settled in the first round, tapping his right cross to the body, working to hold the centre of the ring.

Alvarez countered Kovalev with a sharp one-two to the head. He moved from side to side to throw off the Russian. Sergey worked to pin him down. He manoeuvred Alvarez well but some of the pop began to leak out of his shots. Alvarez had to stay away from him, moving along the outer fringes of the ring.

Kovalev turned up the pressure in the third round, attacking Alvarez with hooks to the head and body with gusto. Eleider still managed to mark him out with jabs as Kovalev came on.

The Russian sustained his assault, cuffing Alvarez with right hooks and setting about the Colombian. Alvarez was feeling the weight of those attacks. But he weathered the storm and turned the fight his way in the seventh round. He slugged Kovalev with a heavy right cross and dropped him to the seat of his shorts. The Russian rose, only for Alvarez to hammer him with uppercuts. A thunderous left hook and following right dropped Kovalev badly. It didn’t take much for Alvarez to put him down a third time and take a momentous victory.

The finish came at 2-45. Alvarez is now an unbeaten 24-0 (12).

On the undercard WBA light-heavyweight Dmitry Bivol took a unanimous points win over Isaac Chilemba, winning 116-112 for George Hill and 120-108 for Henry Grant and Ron McNair in what only Bivol’s 14th professional contest.