By Keith Idec
Egidijus Kavaliauskas impressively passed the toughest test of his five-year pro career Friday night.
The welterweight contender from Lithuania remained undefeated by knocking out Russia’s David Avanesyan in the sixth round of a scheduled 10-round, 147-pound bout ESPN televised from Reno, Nevada. Referee Tony Weeks stopped their fight at 1:55 of the sixth round, as Avanesyan staggered around the ring.
The 29-year-old Kavaliauskas moved to 19-0 and recorded his 16th knockout. Avanesyan, also 29, suffered the first knockout defeat of his career and slipped to 23-3-1 (11 KOs).
The hard-hitting Kavaliauskas began breaking down Avanesyan in earlier rounds. With 1:23 to go in the sixth round, he wobbled the former WBA world welterweight champ with a right hand.
Avanesyan attempted to move away from Kavaliauskas, but the stalking knockout artist landed a left hook that knocked Avanesyan across the ring. Kavaliauskas quickly unloaded a barrage of power punches that forced Weeks to step in to halt the action.
Kavaliauskas connected with several right hands late in the fourth round. Avanesyan and Kavaliauskas accidentally clashed heads just before the fourth round ended.
Kavaliauskas landed a left hook to Avanesyan’s head that stunned him just after the midway mark of the third round. Avanesyan went to the canvas slightly more than a minute into the third round, but Weeks ruled it was caused by a push.
Kavaliauskas and Avanesyan were cautious during the first two rounds, when they mostly threw jabs and tried to find openings for right hands.
A few rounds later, it was clear Kavaliauskas is ready for another step up in competition in his next fight.
Kavaliauskas, a two-time Olympian promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc., knocked out 15 of his first 18 professional opponents, but none of those foes were as good as Avanesyan. The Russian owns a win over former three-division champion Shane Mosley and held a version of the WBA’s welterweight title until Lamont Peterson out-pointed him for it last February 18 in Cincinnati.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.