American Terence Crawford retained his WBO welterweight title with a ninth round knockout of Egidijus Kavaliauskas at Madison Square Garden. Crawford, 32, recovered from an apparent knockdown in round three to overwhelm the Lithuanian, dropping him in the seventh and twice more in the ninth, a right hook ending the fight. “When I let my hands go that’s when I started landing more favourable shots,” said Crawford after his 36th win.
“He’s a strong fighter, durable.” Crawford, who beat Britain’s Amir Khan with a low blow in April, started tentatively and although Kavaliauskas appeared to knock him down cleanly in the third round, the referee ruled the champion had slipped. By the seventh round in New York, Crawford had found his rhythm and knocked down his 31-year-old challenger, with the former Olympian then somehow clinging on through the eighth. And it was a thunderous uppercut at the start of the ninth that sparked the beginning of the end, with Crawford landing the decisive blow after 44 seconds. Crawford, who has now a 27 knockouts from his 36 victories, added: “After I dropped him with my uppercut I was like, I am going to face his jab, and come out with my right hook.”