Boxing Insider Notebook: Kovalev, Breazeale, Webster, Andrade, Cherry, and more
By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of May 31st to June 7th, covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
HBO Returns to Russia for Kovalev’s Next Bout
HBO Sports returns to Russia for the first time since 2013 to present world light heavyweight champ Sergey Kovalev’s title defense against challenger Isaac Chilemba when the fight is presented in the United States on MONDAY, JULY 11 at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT (same day tape-delayed) from the DIVS Arena in Ekaterinburg, Russia, exclusively on HBO.
n his first fight in Russia since 2011, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) defends his light heavyweight title for the ninth time when he faces Malawi’s Isaac Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KOs) in a bout scheduled for 12 rounds. Kovalev, 33, has emerged as one of the sport’s most feared punchers defeating many of the best fighters in the light heavyweight division including Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal. He is ranked as one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound performers. Chilemba, 28, has never been stopped in his 29 professional bouts and will look to use his ring savvy to emerge victorious in his first career world title opportunity.
Kovalev vs. Chilemba will be televised from the DIVS Arena in Ekaterinburg, Russia, on Monday, July 11 at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT, capping off an exciting weekend of international boxing on HBO which begins on Saturday, July 9 live at 5:00 p.m. ET/PT when world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury squares off with former titlist Wladimir Klitschko in Manchester, England
Edner Cherry to Meet Lydell Rhodes
Former title challenger Edner Cherry (34-7-2, 19 KOs) and quick-fisted contender Lydell Rhodes (23-1-1, 11 KOs) will compete in the 10-round lightweight main event of Premier Boxing Champions TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and BOXEO DE CAMPEONES on Tuesday, June 28 from Sands Bethlehem Events Center in Bethlehem, Pa.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and features unbeaten featherweight Omar “Super O” Douglas (16-0, 11 KOs) battling hard-hitting Cuban Alexei “The Hurricane” Collado (19-1, 17 KOs) in a 10-round bout.
“I know Rhodes is a good fighter and I am preparing for a tough fight,” said Cherry. “I am still pushing towards a world title. I learned that when you fight for a title, you have to knock out the champ. I’m not giving up. I’m still here and think this will be a great fight. This is what boxing needs, two great fighters going at it.”
“I have been waiting for a fight like this for a long time,” said Rhodes. “Cherry is a warrior who has never been stopped. I will be the first person to stop him. I have to go out and dominate against a guy who has fought many world champions. I believe if I do that, it will push me towards a world title shot.”
Dominic Breazeale Workout Quotes
On the passing of Muhammed Ali…
“Muhammed Ali was a huge inspiration. Heavy hearts when great ones pass away like that. He was a wonderful man. I never had the opportunity to meet him, but I did meet some of his kids, Layla Ali being one of them.
“Ali was a very inspirational type of individual. You go back and watch some of his fights; I was way too young to see him fight in his prime but I’ve seen the recordings and seen the video footage. Everyone says he did everything wrong but everything right. It’s just phenomenal.
“One of the things I was able to take from watching him fight was his jab. Sometimes he’d beat guys hands down with just his jab.”
On AIBA’s position on pros to fight in Olympics…
“I think it’s a good thing and a bad thing. AIBA’s doing a good job bringing the councils together and generating a new buzz for the sport. It might be a little too late for some of the professional fighters to get themselves together to compete for their country. I like the fact that they’re taking the head gear off because that’s the next step after the Olympics. You go into the pros and there’s not going to be any more padded gloves or head gear that you’re wearing so that’s a good thing. As far as the pros, I don’t see any successful pros joining and entering into an amateur competition, but for those that didn’t get a chance to compete in the Olympics they might.”
On competing in the Olympics…
“I have definitely considered it. But I’ve got a fight coming up.
On his opponent Anthony Joshua…
“I think, in general, he’s kind of had a little bit of a stepping stone as far as fighting in the Olympics in his backyard, having the judges there in his backyard. I don’t know if you saw the fight but when he fought in that final match for the Gold Medal, I was sitting third row and I hands down believe that (he lost). But you know, when you’ve got judges on your side, in your own country, Olympics in your own country, it looks better when the home native wins.
“Even as a professional, he fought a guy in Charles Martin that really didn’t show up fight night. Charles Martin himself had an easy road and path to the title with the whole slip and fall against Glazkov. When you think of a heavyweight champion you want to make sure he’s fought the best, and I think that’s why Joshua has chosen me as his opponent to defend against. That’s what he plans on getting out of the situation if he can make it through the 12 rounds. I plan on putting on some extreme pressure and taking Joshua to a new level of boxing, and we’ll find out June 25.”
On what it means to get a shot at a title…
“I think Joshua’s thinking of me as a stepping stone and he’s going to be sorry about that. He’s just wrong. I mean, he’s fighting a guy at 6-foot-7, 255 pounds that brings the pressure and a great pace from round-to-round. I’m one of those guys that I might take a shot, I might work some defense, I might work a strong jab.
“Either way, I’m going to make it a fight. All of my opponents have been down on the canvas and I don’t think Joshua is going to come shy of that as well.
“I’m going in as the underdog, I’m going into an arena with 20,000 opposing fans. I’ve been picked as the smaller guy in the ring, by the IBF as a stepping stone and I feel like my back is against the wall. I’m going to
come out fighting.”
Demetrius Andrade Workout Quotes
Reflections of Muhammad Ali:
“Muhammad Ali certainly shook the world, and not only in boxing. He was colorful; nobody talked like him. He helped boxers, too. Ali is the reason Floyd (Mayweather, Jr.) is who he is because Ali set the bar high.
“As an entertaining boxer, Ali brought blacks and whites together and later he spread the word about religion, culture and his other diverse interests.
“What young boxer didn’t do the Ali Shuffle? I know I did, and taunted my opponents like him, too.”
About Pros in the Olympics:
“I’m for pros in the Olympics as long as an amateur, who has a few Olympic trials, has the first opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. Coming up in the amateurs, I fought grown men, some who had been Olympians a few times. I was 21 and some of the opponents were 34-35 and had already been Olympians one or two times. They had advantages in experience, power and skill. Unfortunately, Americans only have Olympic opportunities when they’re young amateurs.
“Would I go the Olympics now? Yes! The Olympics is the biggest thing on the planet. To represent the United States again, yeah, I’d do it now for the chance to win gold. But I do think headgear should be applied in amateur boxing, including the Olympics.”
On the 154-pound division:
“I’m putting myself in the best position to fight for the WBO or WBC title. There are rumors of Canelo fighting (WBO champion Liam) Smith. Let me fight Smith and the winner gets Canelo. Or let me fight Canelo with the winner getting Smith.
“I’m going to knock out the Charlo twins. Both guys have fought on SHOWTIME, so those fights shouldn’t be too difficult to make. Once I take care of business with the Charlo twins, I’ll fight Lara (WBA champion) to clean up the division.”
On Gennady Golovkin:
“I definitely want to fight Golovkin. Let me build myself up first, by cleaning out the 154-division, and then we’ll have a mega-fight with two different styles. GGG is known for his knockouts. I knock out people, too, but I’m a better boxer than him. It’ll be one of the biggest fights in the sport of boxing. I’m going to clean up the 154-division, make my reputation and then it’s a go with GGG.”
Relationship with his opponent Willie Nelson:
“We were in the U.S. amateurs together, but because we were in two different weight classes – he was 140-147 and I was 152 – there were no problems between us. We used to watch each other fight and watch other Americans box.
“Nelson is experienced having gone through the amateurs. He fought (Vanes) Martirosyan, who I beat (for the vacant WBO title by 12-round unanimous decision). He’s fought at this level. I know he’s tall, but I’m 6-foot-1, so our height difference isn’t serious.”
Derrick Webster Picks Up 20th Win
Derrick “Take it to the Bank” Webster (20-1, 10 KOs) made a triumphant return to the ring on Saturday night, pitching a shutout over battle-tested veteran Lenwood Dozier at the Grundy Arena in Bristol, Penn. The bout served as the main event of a card that was presented by the Glassboro native’s managerial team, DandD Management & Promotions.
“We were just sticking to the game plan,” Webster said of the strategy that he and head trainer Denny Brown maintained in the contest. “I overextended my shoulder in the first round. Denny has always taught me how to fight with one hand, so that’s what we had to do. I had to step to him with one hand and keep the combinations going with one hand, and we did so. We came out victorious, unhurt and unharmed, by him. I tried to land a big left hook, and I overextended my shoulder. It’s a part of boxing.”
Throughout the night, Webster stayed behind the jab and switched his angles up to create openings. Despite being hampered by his shoulder, he still got off his numbers when the opportunities presented themselves and maintained complete control. Dozier kept a high guard and stayed at range, which made Webster have to break through his shell to land his most significant strikes, but he continued to back Dozier up with his length and the snap in his punches.
Webster also used shifty movement to help him dominate the action over six rounds, keeping his jab in motion and popping off combinations. Additionally, he was very sound defensively, which enabled him to remain virtually untouched. At no point was the end result in doubt, and the Glassboro native would eventually secure the win with flush 60-54 counts from all three ringside judges.
“I really appreciate everybody who came out and supported me,” Webster remarked. “Once again, Team Webster, we’re here. I’m not going anywhere, and look for me in July with Greg Cohen Promotions and DandD Management. I’m getting married in September, and life couldn’t be any better. I appreciate everybody’s support, and I love all of the boxers who fought underneath me and did a great job tonight.”