Kovalev was the more aggressive of the two boxers and was winning the majority of the rounds heading into the seventh.
Meanwhile, a press conference will be held Wednesday in Chicago on the IBF World Light Heavyweight Championship fight between Montreal's Artur Beterbiev (12-0-0, 12 KOs) and Scotland's Callum Johnson (17-0-0, 12 KOs) on October 6 in the Windy City.
"Chilemba is a good fighter and he had champion spirit tonight", Bivol said. But by the end of the sixth, Alvarez was bleeding from a cut just under his left eye.
He then finished him off with a right hook and left uppercut combination and at that point the referee stepped in with 15 seconds before the bell in front of a crowd of 5,600 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Ashkeyev, who trains in the same camp with fighters such as Kovalev and pound-for-pound king Vasiliy Lomachenko, dominated Flores, who continually lost his mouthpiece.
"I feel OK. Thank you everyone, thank you very much to all the fans around the world for your support", Kovalev said.
With his confidence soaring again, and with him having adjusted to Tursunpulatov, the time has come for Kovalev to face a far more highly regarded opponent in the second defense of his second title reign.
After three years of waiting for a light heavyweight title fight, Alvarez left Kovalev crumpled on the canvas, enveloped by a victory celebration.
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Earlier in the night, Dmitry Bivol won a unanimous, 12-round decision over Isaac Chilemba to retain his WBA Light Heavyweight belt.
Former Middleweight champion Peter Quillin is fighting for only the second time since he was knocked out by Daniel Jacobs in one round back in 2015 whereas J'Leon Love has been living on borrowed time feasting on low level opponents over the last few years. "I can't stop smiling right now because [on Saturday], the whole world will know who Eleider Alvarez is".
Adonis Stevenson, the Montreal-based light heavy champ holding the WBC strap evaded him on two occasions, with promoter Yvon Michel figured out a benefit package as compensation for Eleider Alvarez's deferment of the inevitable.
Alvarez cracked Kovalev with the big right hand in the seventh round, which all but sealed the deal. Once again, Kovalev got back up to continue the fight, but he probably would have been better off staying down.
Nonetheless, promotional turf wars (ah, it's so nice we never have to worry about THOSE) might make Alvarez-Bivol about as good as it gets for either man.
Alvarez stated, "I wanted to show him I'm strong, I have a good chin, and I'm ready for big things ... we practiced that punch during training camp, and that's how it went ..." The fight with Chilemba was Bivol's third in his past four bouts to come on a Kovalev undercard, as their seemingly inevitable showdown drew closer until the shocker in the main event.
One judge scored the fight 116-112 for Bivol, while the other two had it 120-108.