Sergey Kovalev’s next title defense will bring the WBO champion back to the city where he got a career-defining win over Bernard Hopkins.
Kovalev will fight Eleider Alvarez on August 4 in Atlantic City, New Jersey to defend his WBO light heavyweight title. The fight will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino Atlantic City and headline an HBO World Championship Boxing card.
Alvarez was previously the mandatory challenger for the WBC light heavyweight title, but the organization put Alvarez in an interim title fight instead of putting him in a title fight against WBC champion Adonis Stevenson. Alvarez elected to not participated in the interim title fight, hoping to fight for a full world title.
The boxing card originally was supposed to take place earlier than April at Madison Square Garden with Kovalev facing Lucas Browne, but the bout changed to have Alvarez, the WBC’s longtime mandatory challenger to the organization’s light heavyweight title, fight instead. The original boxing card planned to have WBA champion Dmitry Bivol fight in the co-main event, but Bivol is still looking for an opponent, putting his status on the undercard in doubt.
Since Kovalev and Bivol won their respective world titles late last year, the plan was to have both boxers make a couple of title defenses to build up anticipation for a potential world title unification. This will be Kovalev's second WBO title defense after winning the vacant title by knocking out Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and then retaining the title against Igor Mikhalkin, both of those fights taking place at Madison Square Garden. In Kovalev's last fight in Atlantic City, he defeated Hopkins in 2014 to unify the WBA, WBO and IBF light heavyweight titles.
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