Sergey Kovalev Brutalizes Nathan Cleverly To Win WBO Light Heavyweight Title


There’s not much that can be said after witnessing Sergey Kovalev’s (22-0-1, 19 knockouts) complete and utter dismantling of the now former light-heavyweight champion, Nathan Cleverly (26-1, 12 knockouts) aside from “wow”.

Going into the bout, Cleverly had been making a name for himself overseas while defending the WBO Light Heavyweight title against mid-tier opposition. Kovalev, however ,was silently tearing through the division with each KO victory seemingly more violent than the last. Against Cleverly, Kovalev was not only able to win and leave with title, but do it on the sport’s biggest stage as well.

At the sound of the opening bell, both fighters came out aggressive, but it was Cleverly who was looking to dictate the pace early. With a jab that was as blazing fast as it was constant, Cleverly did his best to keep Kovalev at bay considering the man’s penchant for separating opponents from their senses. Unfortunately, that gameplan didn’t last long considering Kovalev was able to walk right through Cleverly’s jab, and begin unloading a series of straight hands and hooks that had bad intentions written all over them. Cleverly managed to wade the early storm, but it would prove to be too much as the bout went on.

In rounds two and three it was becoming clear that Kovalev was only beginning to find his rhythm. This became especially obvious Kovalev began ripping shots to the body of Cleverly, and Celverly was already beginning to suffer from their effects. Cleverly tries to respond with his own shots, but Kovalev manages to remain unaffected. Instead, Kovalev manages to knock down Cleverly twice in round three after landing a short hook against the champ along the ropes.

Kovalev’s power and determination really came through at the start of the fourth round as he came charging out of his corner, and began throwing power shot after power shot in an effort to put Cleverly down. Cleverly was clearly overwhelmed by the attack, and was forced to absorb punishment as Kovalev just continued his onslaught. Eventually, Cleverly’s gloves touch the canvas and it becomes clear to the referee that Cleverly is unable to continue.

This win is massive for Kovalev on many different levels, but most importantly it proves to people that he is not only a legitimate force in the light heavyweight division, but that he is a man who is willing to fight the best to be the best. Whether that opportunity arises against names like Adonis Stevenson or Andre Ward remains to be seen, but until then one can’t help but get excited at the potential match-ups.