LOS ANGELES - Russian champion Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev has scored a second round technical knockout win against Australian challenger Blake Caparello in their light heavyweight world title fight in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Kovalev was the short-priced favourite to defend his World Boxing Organisation belt against southpaw Caparello on Saturday.
Caparello, who was undefeated going into the bout, shocked Kovalev in the first round, knocking him down with a straight left hand.
"He got me off my balance," Kovalev said.
It was only the second time Kovalev has been down in 26 professional fights.
Kovalev came out in the second round and dropped the Australian with a body shot, Caparello got back up but then was pummelled later in the round.
Referee Sparkle Lee called a halt to the fight.
The Russian, who has has now knocked out 23 of his 25 victims, was so confident of defeating Caparello he signed a contract on the eve of the fight to take on the great Bernard Hopkins in a unification bout in November.
Hopkins, who turns 50 in January, holds the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association light heavyweight belts.
Caparello, a 27-year-old from Melbourne, drops to a professional record of 19 wins (KO 6), one draw, and one loss.
Kovalev has a 25 win, one draw pro record.