Sergey Kovalev stopped Blake Caparello in the second round on Saturday night to retain his WBO light-heavyweight title. The 31-year-old Russian, who is based in Fort Lauderdale in Florida, won inside the distance for the 13th time in succession and won by knockout for the 23rd time in 26 professional fights.
The fight in Atlantic City ended 1 minute 47 seconds into the second round when referee Sparkle Lee stepped in to save the Australian challenger, who had been knocked down twice in the round.
Kovalev now qualifies for a unification fight against 49-year-old IBF and WBA champion Bernard Hopkins. The fight will be held in November at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall or the Barclay's Centre in Brooklyn.
"I'm very happy," Kovalev said after taking his record to 25-0-1; 23.
"Fighting Bernard Hopkins is a big fight and interesting fight for me and for the boxing world. I'm not scared to fight him. He's called 'The Alien,' but I'm a 'Krusher' and I'll send him to Mars."