Tonight in Montreal, WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson took a significant step closer to the long awaited mouth-watering battle with WBA, IBF & WBO king, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.
The Haitian Born puncher outpointed the rugged Sakio Bika in front his loyal supporters at the Pepsi Coliseum, putting behind him a potential banana skin with such a lucrative bout waiting in the wings.
When Superman was making a statement to his future foe Kovalev though, another rapid rising Light Heavyweight was making a definitive statement of his own.
Revered bulldozer Artur Beterbiev steamrolled his way through former Kovalev opponent Gabriel Campillo in four painstaking rounds, further cementing his claims of being the best Light Heavyweight in the world.
It took less than a minute for Beterbiev to show the Canadian fans what he was all about. A crushing left shook Campillo to his boots, eventually falling to the canvas, succumbing to the nonstop attacks from the Russian.
The former amateur star continued to bully Campillo around the ring throughout the next three sessions, and in the fourth round, the fight predictably came to its conclusion. After taking the 30 year old’s variety of punches, Campillo could not escape. Beterbiev landed two concussive right hands, which completely demolished the aging challenger forcing the referee to step in as Campillo fell lifelessly to the canvas.
Now with eight fights and eight knockouts, and still not gone past four rounds, Artur Beterbiev’s Light Heavyweight assault is starting to noticeably intensify. As a result, it will not be long until his name will be mentioned alongside the division’s elite Stevenson and the man he beat in the amateurs, Kovalev.
Therefore as Beterbiev incontestably blitzed Campillo, Stevenson was bidding to categorically demonstrate that in fact he is the king at the Light Heavyweight limit by dismantling the tough Bika–who made the jump from Super Middleweight.
The fight began with both Stevenson and Bika having their success. The reigning WBC king was effectively countering the challenger’s jabs, yet the relentless Bika was working his way inside, landing his fair share to the body as well as the head.
A series of sledgehammer left hands in the second from Stevenson, tested “The Scorpion’s” resolve and for an instant, it seemed that Bika was hurt.
The 37-year-old Superman was beginning to control the action in the next two sessions, with his quick jab and powerful left hand paying dividends. But Bika continued to rally, smothering the skillful champion at every opportunity.
Stevenson was beginning to operate like a surgeon, as the renowned left hand could not miss the Bika noggin. Stevenson was looking better than ever, shaking the battle hardened 35 year old continuously throughout the round.
In the sixth, Bika started to slow considerably due to constant barrage from the man known as Superman. The former WBC Super Middleweight champion walked on to a glancing left hand, which dropped him to the canvas, but The Scorpion instantly jumped to his feet, unhurt by the shot.
Questions have been raised in the past about Adonis Stevenson’s engine as he goes into the latter rounds, so even though he was controlling the action, those questions still remained as the fight went down the stretch by Bika.
Following a quiet eighth round from the champion, Stevenson put his foot on the accelerator in the next round, landing a flush left hand that instantly knocked Bika to the floor for the second time in the fight, but this time the damage was clearly evident.
The brave 35-year-old challenger was starting to cower into his shell. Each punch he threw was immediately countered by a powerful left hand, which was systematically breaking the tough Bika’s heart.
The final two sessions were inevitably controlled by an uber confident Stevenson, who was beginning to showboat to the crowd with the Ali shuffle while talking to Bika, who coincidently continued to bravely fight until the final bell sounded.
The scorecards were slightly closer than expected as Stevenson clearly won almost every round. In the end though, the result was the unavoidable, as Stevenson claimed the unanimous decision victory on all three judges’ scorecards–115-110, 115-111 and 116-110.
Following this impressive victory against the strong challenge of Bika, the boxing world will now undoubtedly switch their attention to who would win the mammoth shootout between two if boxing’s biggest punchers Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson.
Purse bids for the eagerly anticipated matchup are due to take place on April 17 so the scintillating showdown between Kovalev and Stevenson is undeniably creeping ever closer. But if one can remember, we have been there before.
All photos by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images