- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Light heavyweight Sergey Kovalev, days after a dominant third-round knockout of Lionell Thompson on national television, has signed with promoter Main Events.
Kovalev (19-0-1, 16 KOs) was supposed to headline a "Fight Night" card on NBC Sports Net last Friday against former titleholder Gabriel Campillo, but Campillo pulled out because of a back injury and Kovalev was moved onto the undercard and matched with late replacement Thompson.
Main Events had been evaluating Kovalev with the idea that it would eventually sign him.
"We are finally in the right place," said Egis Klimas, Kovalev's manager. "I knocked on many doors: Golden Boy, Top Rank and more. However, no one took it seriously that Sergey Kovalev will be the next big champion in his weight division. But Main Events has the same beliefs. They did take us seriously. We signed with them and we are very happy with our decision."
Kovalev, 29, of Russia, said signing a promotional contract was "the most important decision I have made in my professional career. I feel I have made a very good choice by signing with Main Events. I am ready for my next fight right now. I will fight anyone."
There is nothing set for Kovalev's next fight, but he is likely to appear again on "Fight Night," which Main Events supplies fights for.
"When Sergey is in the ring, he is simply electrifying," Main Events promoter Kathy Duva said. "We look forward to seeing more fireworks from Kovalev, who will undoubtedly become a force in one of boxing's hottest divisions."