One of the more exciting light heavyweight title fights of 2018 thus far is getting a sequel, but on a different television network.
Top Rank and ESPN announced that they have acquired the broadcast rights to the rematch between Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight title. The fight will take place sometime in early 2019, but a venue has not been determined.
The first fight took place this past August in Atlantic City as the main event of a boxing card televised on HBO. In that first bout, Kovalev was ahead on the scorecards, but in the seventh round, Kovalev was knocked down three times and ultimately stopped by Alvarez, awarding him his first world title.
The announcement comes after rumors surfaced that HBO would not be picking up the rematch. The HBO broadcast from Atlantic City also featured a WBA light heavyweight title fight between Dmitry Bivol and Isaac Chilemba with the intent of building up a unification fight between Kovalev and Bivol for the end of the year or early 2019. Although Bivol was victorious, when Kovalev lost the WBO title, any chances of a Kovalev vs. Bivol clash happening anytime soon were dashed.
Kovalev won the WBO title for the second time in his career back in late 2017 when he defeated Vyacheslav Shabranskyy by second-round TKO. The title was vacant at the time after former champion Andre Ward retired, thus leaving the IBF, WBA and WBO titles without a champion at the time.