Crawford defends WBO title with ninth-round TKO against Kavaliauskas

WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford remains undefeated after a strong finish against mandatory challenger Egidijus Kavaliauskas in New York.

Terence Crawford improved his record to 36-0 with this win over Egidijus Kavaliauskas in the WBO welterweight title bout.   -  Getty Images

Terence Crawford defended his WBO welterweight title with a ninth-round TKO of Egidijus Kavaliauskas at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. The American steadied after an unconvincing start to drop the underdog three times and improve his record to 36-0.

Shaken after a heavy right in the third round, Crawford sent Kavaliauskas (21-1-1) to the floor amid a blistering exchange in a thrilling seventh round before moving in for the finish. Crawford rattled the Lithuanian with a flurry of blows, dropped him with an uppercut and then landed a final right hook to end the bout.

The 32-year-old, fighting for the first time since beating Amir Khan in April, said he had no concerns after seemingly being knocked down in the third, which the referee ruled a slip. "He caught me with a good shot," Crawford told ESPN.

"I wasn't hurt by no means. I walked away from everything he did all night. I thought I'd entertain y'all for a little bit. He's a strong fighter, durable. I thought I'd give the crowd something to get excited about and cheer about."

Asked about his next opponent, Crawford said: "I've been saying I'll fight anybody. I've been saying that for I don't know how long. I don't really got to call out anybody. I fought my mandatory, because I had to. I'm not ducking anybody on the PBC side or on the Top Rank side of the platform. I want to fight the top guys, it's simple."