SERGEY KOVALEV defended the WBO light-heavyweight title, grinding down challenger Igor Mikhalkin in seven rounds at the Madison Square Garden Theatre on Saturday.

The southpaw challenger was stubborn and made it difficult for Kovalev, but the champion got to him with power punches. He opened up a bad cut and continued to punish him until the referee stopped him due to the injury, had the doctor check the cut and waved off the bout.

Kovalev admitted he was “a little uncomfortable.”

“He’s a good boxer, good stamina, movement,” the champion said. “He’s a great boxer.

“My next fight with southpaw will be much better.”

sergey kovalev

Kovalev wants a significant title fight next, whether that’s against Badou Jack or Dmitry Bivol, the WBA titlist who boxed on the same bill. “If it’s a big money fight, then yes I’m ready,” Kovalev said.

Bivol dropped and stopped Sullivan Barrera in the 12th round on the undercard.