Sergey Kovalev Isn’t Done Just Yet
By: Hans Themistode
A shell of himself.
Over the past few months Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) has heard all of those words and a few that have been much harsher. Who can really blame them? Ever since Kovalev lost to now retired future hall of famer Andre Ward by knockout he just didn’t seem like his normal self. Sure following that defeat he went on to win his next two fights by knockout, he even managed to win back one his titles that he lost to Ward in the process but still something just didn’t seem right.
Kovalev once had an aura of invincibility. He wasn’t just beating very good fighters he was flat out dominating them. An undefeated Nathan Cleverly was stopped in four rounds. Jean Pascal who had been known for having a granite chin was stopped not once but twice by Kovalev. Even the legendary Bernard Hopkins was dominated when they matched up back in 2014. When Kovalev stepped in to the ring with Ward and ultimately lost both contests it wasn’t an indictment on Kovalev, after all Andre Ward is one of the best to ever step foot in the ring but that aura that he once had took a major dent.
Kovalev lost a piece of himself in those defeats. That thought process rang true when Kovalev was knocked down three times and subsequently stopped in the seventh round last year in his match against Eleider Alvarez (24-1, 12 KOs). Before the stoppage win Kovalev was winning on the scorecards but Alvarez would not be denied as he simply bullied Kovalev on his way to victory while snatching away Kovalev’s WBO Light Heavyweight title in the process. Instead of simply accepting that defeat Kovalev wanted an immediate rematch. We all knew what was going to happen next. Kovalev was going to suffer a vicious beating at the hands of Alvarez and be relegated to the bottom of the division.
It seems as though he didn’t get the memo. Kovalev put on one of the very best performances in his career by boxing circles around Alvarez enroute to a unanimous decision victory this past Saturday night. It was a masterful performance. Kovalev has collected victories over tougher foes in his career, however this past Saturday night he not only had to deal with a dangerous, younger and more fresher opponent but he also had to battle himself as well.
During the entire build up of his fight he told everyone that would listen that what happened in his first fight with Alvarez was a “mistake” and that he has “improved.” Few believed him and even fewer picked him to win the fight. He made them all look foolish. Kovalev is known for his punching power and maybe to some degree relied on it too much in the past. This past Saturday night he proved that he is much more than a one trick pony.
The Light Heavyweight division has a ton of talent. Current undefeated champions Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol and Oleksandr Gvozdyk are at the top of the charts. Before Saturday nights win Kovalev was just an after thought. A blimp on the radar. A non threat. Now? He has forced himself back in to the top of the division. Kovalev is getting a bit long in the tooth at 35 years of age but he still has plenty left in the tank.
This Saturday night proved that he isn’t done just yet.
Top Rank Boxing on ESPN Results: Kovalev Defeats Alvarez
By: Hans Themistode
Whenever a fighter tells both the fans and media that he has changed they are mostly hollow words.
For Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) however they were the absolute truth as he turned in one of the very best performances of his career as he defeated Eleider Alvarez (24-1, 12 KOs) by unanimous decision tonight. The scorecards read 120-108 and two scores of 116-112 all in favor of Kovalev who recaptured the WBO Light Heavyweight title that he had lost to Alvarez just last year.
The match started off with Kovalev boxing well from the outside and tagging Alvarez with hard shots. There was a bit of a deja vu feeling as Kovalev was just as dominant in their first meeting before Alvarez managed to hurt and stop him. This time around Kovalev was able to put together a full performance throughout the course of 12 rounds.
At no point did Kovalev try to stop Alvarez. Instead he used his superior boxing abilities to win a tactical fight. The problems that Kovalev has seemingly had in the past with his gas tank was not evident in this fight as he closed the bout strong. Alvarez had very few moments of success as he spent much of the contest coming forward but not throwing many punches.
Kovalev through 816 punches to only 369 for Alvarez. He also out landed him by over 100 punches, 213 to 111. It was a dominant showing for Kovalev who managed to pick up the victory and claim his status as a champion once again.
For those that wrote off the Krusher and dismissed his chances at winning were sorely mistaken. It seems as though he still has plenty left in the tank and is still a major force in the division.
Richard Commey (28-2, 25 KOs) absolutely destroyed Isa Chaniev (13-2, 6 KOs) by second round knockout to secure his first world title claiming the vacant IBF Lightweight title.
From the opening bell both men came out throwing heavy leather. It was Commey who managed to land the harder punches throughout the round but not without taking a few massive hits of his own. It was a back and forth round that could have went to either man until Commey landed a monster shot that sent Chaniev to the canvas. Although he managed to get back to his feet he seemed unstable and in major trouble. Chaniev was able to make through the round and was hoping to reset and turn things around in the second round. Commey however wouldn’t allow his man to get himself in to the fight.
As the second frame of the contest started he jumped all over Chaniev and was able to land another knockdown. Once again Chaniev showed major heart in getting back to his feet but from their Commey went in for the kill as he landed several hard shots upstairs which forced the referee to step in and stop the contest before Chaniev was able to sustain anymore punishment.
For Commey this win meant everything to him. After failing to bring home the title against former champion Robert Easter Jr in 2016 he was able to win the biggest fight of his career. After the fight Commey was extremely grateful and overjoyed with his performance tonight.
“This means everything to me. It means everything for my career.” Said Commey during his post fight interview.
Although Commey is officially a champion and will celebrate his dominate win tonight there is a huge elephant in the room. That elephant is named Vasyl Lomachenko. It comes to no ones surprise that Lomachenko was scheduled to face the winner of this bout. Now that Commey has come away with the victory he will now face arguably the number one fighter on the pound-for-pound list. Commey was asked about Lomachenko after the fight but only wanted to focus on his major victory here tonight.
“At this moment I just want to enjoy this belt and see what happens but at the moment I’m happy that I won this title and I want to enjoy my belt.”
Commey was dominant tonight but so was reigning WBO champion Oscar Valdez (25-0, 20 KOs) as he returned from a lengthy break to defend his title against Carmine Tommasone (19-1, 5 KOs).
Valdez showed little ring rust in his return from almost a year out of action as he was recovering from a broken jaw. Tommasone did his best to keep the aggressive Valdez off him as he popped out a stiff jab all night. Valdez did a terrific job of cutting off the ring and hitting Tommasone with hard shots. In round four Valdez landed a right hand that sent his opponent down to the canvas. Tommasone beat the count and made it back to his feet but was again knocked down in the round, this time courtesy of a body shot. Tommasone found a way to get through the round and actually boxed well in the fifth round.
The sixth round however was a completely different story as Tommasone once again found himself looking up at the lights as the champion knocked him down. Tommasone showcased his heart tonight as he continued to stand up and fight. The seventh round is where the champion closed the show as he landed a right upper cut that put his man on the canvas for the fourth and final time. After the fight Valdez made it clear that he wanted to move on too much bigger fights ahead.
“Let’s move on, I want bigger and better things.” Said Valdez.
As for his once broken jaw Valdez assured everyone that the jaw wouldn’t be an issue. “ I know that the jaw is 100 percent ready for whoever.” Valdez has fought a murderous row of competition in his career. This fight was essentially a tune up. We can all expect him to take on a tougher assignment in his next bout.
We may have had three world champions on this card but we could all be witnessing the making of a future champion in Teofimo Lopez (12-0, 10 KOs). The 2018 ESPN prospect of the year scored yet another highlight reel knockout victory over veteran Diego Magdaleno (31-3, 13 KOs).
At no point in this contest was this a competitive fight as Lopez dominated from start to finish. The difference in hand speed and power was glaring as Lopez hit Magdaleno with shot after shot. Round after round Lopez dished out a vicious beating. Magdaleno deserves all the credit in the world for withstanding the punishment for as long as he did.
In round six Lopez came out very aggressive with the intentions of ending the night early. A left hook sent Magdaleno crumpling to the canvas. He some how picked himself up off the floor and continued to fight valiantly. Round seven saw Lopez close the show as he unleashed two vicious left hands that sent Magdaleno straight to the canvas. The referee put a halt to the savage beating and ended the match.
Every contest that took place tonight was terrific but it was Teofimo Lopez who stole the show.
Top Rank Boxing Preview: Kovalev vs. Alvarez
By: Hans Themistode
It will be a night of champions as three world title holders will be looking to defend their crowns this Saturday night in the Ford Center at The Star in Texas. Before these champions grace the boxing ring, the ESPN prospect of the year in 2018 and quite possibly a future world champion in his own right will be looking to keep his undefeated record intact.
Teofimo Lopez (11-0, 9 KOs) is coming off a highlight reel level knockout win in his last bout against Mason Menard in the very first round. The knockout was seen all across the world as various networks could not stop showing the impressive stoppage win. He will no doubt be looking to make another statement this Saturday night. Lopez will be standing across the ring from his toughest opponent to date in Diego Magdaleno (31-2, 13 KOs).
At age 32 Magdaleno has the opportunity to stop the hype train that is currently behind Lopez dead in its tracks. Defeating Lopez won’t be easy but he does have the experience advantage to give the young up and comer plenty of issues. Magdaleno is after all a two time title challenger, losing both of his chances at gold against Roman Martinez in 2013 and Terry Flanagan in 2015.
Although he came up short in those contests the thought is that he can use those experiences to overcome the very dangerous but also inexperienced Teofimo Lopez come Saturday night. If Lopez plans to one day soon fight for a Lightweight title then he will need to dispatch of Magdaleno in impressive fashion.
Speaking of Lightweight titles both Richard Commey (27-2, 24 KOs) and Isa Chaniev (13-1, 6 KOs) will be battling it out for the vacant IBF Lightweight title on the card as well. For Commey this will be his second crack at a world title as he fought former champion Robert Easter Jr to a split decision loss back in 2016. Following that loss Commey again lost another close decision this time at the hands of Denis Shafikov. Since those defeats Commey has bounced back in a big way winning three bouts in a row with two of those wins coming by stoppage.
Commey has shown to be a devastating puncher throughout his career and will need every ounce of that power when he battles Isa Chaniev. Although he isn’t well known Chaniev is a resilient boxer and one that has upset the applecart before. He has only lost one time in his career in 2017 against Fedor Papazov. Since then he has rattled off three straight victories which has placed him in the position he is in today battling for a world title.
As those Commey and Chaniev battle to get their first world title, Oscar Valdez (24-0, 19 KOs) will be making the fifth defense of his WBO Featherweight world title. This will be the first time we will be seeing Valdez in the ring since his fight of the year candidate bout against Scott Quigg in March last year.
Although Valdez managed to bring him the victory in that bout it cost him a hefty price as he suffered a broken jaw and has since been out of action for 11 months. He won’t be exactly taking on a soft touch in his first fight back as he will be matched up against the undefeated Carmine Tommasone (19-0, 5 KOs).
For Tommasone this is an opportunity of a life time. He won’t be given much of a shot to win but he is a good boxer that has fought respectable opposition. Tommasone has also picked up several smaller regional titles such as the EBU Featherweight title and the WBA Inter-Continental title as well. This will be his first shot at a world title and will be looking to take full advantage of this moment.
Headlining the card will be a rematch between former unified Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) and the man that unseated him last year for his WBO crown Eleider Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs).
In the their first contest it was Kovalev who seemed to be in control for much of the fight, landing plenty of hard shots and keeping his opponent off balance. To Alvarez credit however he never was truly hurt and kept pressing forward. Kovalev has stopped plenty of his opponents with those same shots he was hitting Alvarez with but he would not be deterred.
In round seven Alvarez was rewarded for his ability to keep pressing forward when he scored a trio of knockdowns. The first shot was an overhand right landed by Alvarez to the temple of Kovalev that took his legs away and knocked him down the mat. The second knockdown occurred when Alvarez landed a combination upstairs with a left hook followed by a right hand that saw Kovalev again hit the mat. The third and final knockdown was an overhand right followed by a left upper cut which saw Kovalev crumple again to the floor which forced the referee to stop the fight again. After the fight it was revealed that Kovalev was winning on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
Both men have been on record saying that the rematch will play out much differently. Will Kovalev be able to regain his world title that was snatched away from him and prove that he is still a major player in the division or will Alvarez win in more emphatic fashion this time around?
We will all get the answers to these questions come Saturday night.
Kovalev Arrested For Hitting Woman, Claims Innocence
By: Sean Crose
“Former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev has been charged with felony assault for allegedly punching a woman in the face back in June — but he claims he’s not guilty.” These words, which come to us via TMZ, have taken the fight world by storm. Kovaelv, the former light heavyweight titlist, is due to rematch Eleider Álvarez, who bested the Russian fighter by knockout last summer, on February 2nd in Frisco, Texas. As TMZ points out, “What’s interesting … Kovalev fought Eleider Álvarez in August — just 2 months after the arrest — and lost in a shocking upset.”
According to the report, cops busted Kovalev on June 9th of last year in Big Bear, California. A woman had told police that Kovalev had struck her in the face, “causing serious injuries.” According to the story, Kovalev hit on the accuser during a party. After she refused his advances, he followed her to her cabin, where the assault ended up taking place. “We’re told,” TMZ states, “the woman claims she suffered major injuries including a severely broken nose, a concussion and a displaced disk in her neck.” Kovalev pleaded not guilty and is scheduled in court again on March.
If convicted, the fighter could face jail time.
Top Rank Loads Up Alvarez-Kovalev II Card On Super Bowl Weekend
By Jake Donovan
Cognizant of its placement on the eve of Super Bowl Sunday, the Top Rank staff have made significant additions to its super Saturday night of boxing.
A February 2 date long reserved for the light heavyweight title fight rematch between Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev has now turned into a live quadrupleheader spanning ESPN and its streaming platform ESPN+.
Alvarez-Kovalev II will now headline the ESPN+ portion of the evening (12:00am ET). That portion of the loaded card from The Star in Frisco, Texas will be accompanied by the quick return of unbeaten lightweight Teofimo Lopez, who is fresh off of a highlight reel 1st round knockout of Mason Menard earlier this month in New York City.
An opponent has yet to be announced for Lopez. Sources with knowledge of the show have informed BoxingInsider.com that it will be a step up in class, as the 2016 Honduras Olympian and fast-moving prospect is eager to transition to rising contender.
“I took over my last show, and I am going to do it again,” Lopez (11-0, 9KOs) said. “‘The Takeover’ is coming to Texas, and I can’t wait to get back in the ring.”
Preceding the livestream will be the awaited ring return of unbeaten featherweight Oscar Valdez. Sidelined while recovering from injuries sustained in an ESPN-aired 12-round win over Scott Quigg in March, the two-time Olympian for Mexico returns in a title defense versus unbeaten Carmine Tommasone, who represented Italy in the 2016 Rio Olymnpics.
The bout will headline a live doubleheader on ESPN (10:00pm ET). In chief support to Valdez’ return comes a vacant lightweight title fight between Ghana’s Richard Commey and Russia’s Isa Chaniev.
Moving the Alvarez-Kovalev rematch to ESPN’s live-streaming service was undoubtedly motivated by a desire to boost subscriptions. Top Rank and ESPN continue to search for the proper balance in what will air live on ESPN’s flagship network and what to dedicate exclusively to its subscription-based streaming service.
This particular show will actually provide the best of both worlds. With the ESPN linear platform preceded by ESPN+ live coverage of the preliminary undercard action (7:00 pm-10:00pm ET), boxing fans will get seven hours of live boxing between the services, including three title fights and the latest step in the career of a blue-chip prospect.
“It’s Super Saturday, and by syncing the ESPN linear and ESPN+ platforms for one night, fans have an incredible opportunity to watch a stacked show with many of the world’s best fighters and rising superstars,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank in a statement released through the company’s press office in announcing the full show on Wednesday.
The addition of Valdez (24-0, 19KOs) comes in the wake of the decision to forego a planned January 12 showcase in his adopted hometown of Tucson, Arizona. He was originally due to face Spain’s Andoni Gago, but issues in getting a travel visa in time along with other unbuttoned issues with the remaining undercard prompted an outright cancellation.
It gives Valdez an additional three weeks to further enhance his craft under new trainer Eddy Reynoso, while also providing an upgrade in competition.
“The fans can expect the same Oscar Valdez as far as being an aggressive and exciting fighter,” said Valdez, who looks to make the fifth defense of his featherweight title. “They are also going to see a different side that nobody has seen, which is the boxing skills that I also have and that I’m perfecting and learning with my new trainer, Eddy Reynoso.”
Tommasone (19-0, 5KOs) has yet to make his full mark in the pro ranks. However, the unbeaten featherweight is in the history books as becoming the first pro boxer to participate in—and win—an Olympic boxing match, doing so in 2016 while representing his native Italy.
The 2016 Rio Olympics marked the first year in which pro boxers were able to participate in competition previously limited to amateur boxers. Tommasone joined former flyweight titlist Amnat Ruenroeng (Thailand) and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam (representing his native Cameroon, but who lives in France) as the three to break ground, winning his opening round bout before being sent home in the Round of 16 by Cuba’s Lazaro Alvarez, who went on to capture the Bronze medal.
Tomassone—who was 15-0 prior to his 2016 Rio tour—has since won four bouts in his return to pro competition. All have come versus non-descript competition, as he steps way up in class while fighting outside of Italy as a pro for the first time in his eight-year career.
Still, he comes with greater appeal than Valdez’ originally selected opponent—not to mention it’s a great opportunity for Top Rank to showcase one of its brightest young stars for the third time on ESPN, the latest coming on a busy sports weekend.
“It will be great to see our little warrior, Oscar Valdez, back in action on Feb. 2 after his full recovery from a broken jaw and a courageous victory over Quigg,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Oscar always brings thrills and excitement to his fights.”
The ESPN-televised co-feature figures to serve as the perfect primer.
Ghana’s Commey (27-2, 24 KOs) has patiently waited for his crack at a lightweight title, which he originally believed would come versus Mikey Garcia. Those plans fell apart, however, after the unbeaten pound-for-pound entrant vacated his title in favor of a high-profile showdown versus unbeaten welterweight titlist Errol Spence.
The move left Commey as the highest-rated contender in his pursuit of winning a title on his second try. His previous effort came in a hard-fought split decision loss to Robert Easter Jr. in their Sept. ’16 vacant title fight, which was followed by an equally heartbreaking narrow defeat at the hands of Denis Shafikov just three months later.
Three straight wins have followed, including a six-round destruction of previously unbeaten Alejandro Luna this past March to earn his place as the mandatory challenger.
“When I started working with Richard in September 2016, our plan was to give him another chance to fulfill his dream of becoming a world champion,”said Lou DiBella , Commey’s promoter. “While Chaniev is a very tough Russian fighter, I’m confident that Richard has the skills, punching power and the mental toughness to come out victorious.”
DiBella’s efforts have not at all been lost on his lightweight client.
“I know how hard it is for Ghanaian fighters to get promoted by the top promoters, but Lou has consistently shown that if he thinks you’re the man, then he will be the man for you,” said Commey, who last fought in August in a 2nd round knockout of journeyman Yardley Cruz in Long Island, New York. “He has shown this by the investment DiBella Entertainment has put in me and by getting me this shot at the title and securing it in the United States.”
While it won’t be Commey’s first stateside appearance, his opponent stamps his passport for his first world title fight.
Chaniev (13-1, 6 KOs) has fought exclusively in Eastern Europe as he travels to the U.S. for the first time as a pro. The 26-year old Russian lightweight earned his place in the title mix after a strong showing in his career-best win, outpointing former titlist Ismael Barroso in his most recent bout this past May.
“I have the biggest motivation ever to win, and there is no other result that will satisfy me,” Chaniev said. “On Feb. 2, I will demonstrate all my skills and hard preparation. Some people don’t think I will win, but they will be shocked.”
Boxing Insider Interview with Kathy Duva: “So Much Opportunity for Elite Fighters”
By: Henry Deleon
During the Sullivan Barrera vs. Seanie Monaghan media workout at the Mendez Boxing club in NYC, Boxing Insider had the pleasure of interviewing the CEO of Main Events Promotion, Kathy Duva.
Boxing Insider – Boxing insider here with Kathy Duva. Kathy, what is your opinion on HBO no longer televising boxing?
Kathy Duva – Oh I feel like it’s a death! It’s been 45 years! longer than I’ve been in the sport and they’re aren’t too many things that have been in the sport longer than me. I’m really going to miss it.
Boxing Insider – Do you feel that with HBO getting out of the picture, is it going to have a huge impact on boxing how is being televised?
Kathy Duva – I think it’s happening already. When boxing went to HBO, all the big fights started going there. The other networks lost interest because they couldn’t compete. But now you can see them on ESPN they’re already out there. FOX is already out there and there may be others coming up soon too, you never know.
Boxing Insider – Rumor is that the Kovalev vs. Alvarez rematch is set to be on ESPN, is this true?
Kathy Duva – That is true. It’s going to be on ESPN February 2nd, 2019
Boxing Insider – How did you feel with the results of Kovalev’s last fight against Eleider Alvarez?
Kathy Duva – Obviously I was not too happy. I think we saw this happening in the Ward fights. He got so tired, first of all Ward’s people did an amazing job of getting into his head, It was like watching a master class and I think I learned from it. Sergey was convinced that you had to try harder and work harder, because you know you’re a guy who like to party and have fun, and the worst thing for a guy who’s in his mid 30’s to do is to try and work harder because when you get older you have to work smarter not harder. Unfortunately, Sergey being Sergey just did not believe that. As he got tired, he would just continue to work harder and all he did was set himself up so that he runs out of gas. So now you have a guy who is 35 and is trying to fight and train like he’s 25. He needs to learn to train and fight like he is 35 and he’s doing that now with Buddy McGirt. He has made some changes to his training regime and hopefully it will all work out.
Boxing Insider – So what you’re saying is we are going to see a different Kovalev come this rematch?
Kathy Duva – yeah, you know Buddy is the guy who brought back Arturo Gatti and responsible for the incredible resurgence at the back of his career. Buddy knows what to do with an old fighter, and Sergey at his age has to start fighting like an old fighter which is not something negative. Some of the greatest fights you’ve ever seen involved guys who have that experience and are now challenged in the sense that they don’t have the stamina they once did when they were younger. All that plays into a guy who is a really dominant fighter suddenly getting into fights that are very competitive. So, I believe we are going to see that and in the end the fans are going to be very entertained.
Boxing Insider – So coming into this rematch, do you feel Sergey will have a different outcome?
Kathy Duva – you know Sergey won 5 out of the 7 rounds. He is by far the better fighter. The problem was that he ran out of gas after the 6th round. I remember leaning over to Sergey’s manager before the 5th round and said “I don’t know how he’s going to keep up this pace, what is he doing?”. Sergey’s going to have to learn to beat Alvarez at a slower pace and he is going to have to learn to train in a way in where he doesn’t leave it all in the gym. If he does those things he’s going to win, and if he doesn’t do those things he’s going to lose. That’s what’s going to make this fight very interesting.
Boxing Insider – What is your opinion on what Eddie Hearn and DAZN are doing for boxing?
Kathy Duva – You have people who want to invest in boxing. It’s a great time to be an elite fighter, so much opportunity for elite fighters. How can one be opposed to that, it’s terrific!
Boxing Insider – What’s your take on Saturdays main event between Sullivan Barrera and Seanie Monaghan?
Kathy Duva – This is a terrific fight! This is the greater fight that isn’t happening in places like DAZN, ESPN, or FOX. You’re looking at high level elite fighter, fighters who are world title fighters. If you look at the history of our sport, and I did the other day. I looked at all the “fight of the year” fights and what I found, dating back to 1922, is how rarely the “fight of the year” is one of the “BIG” fights. Its usually a fight like this. Look at when Gatti and Ward fought, you had two guys who people considered to be on the downside of their career and look at what they did! This is one of those fights, now I will never say a fight will be as good as Gatti and Ward, but what I am saying is that you have the same dynamic in fight with Barrera vs. Monaghan. I think if our sport is missing anything right now, its fights like these.
Boxing Insider – Is there any other up and coming fighters under your promotion that you want fans to keep an eye out for?
Kathy Duva – We actually have quite a few. Some of them you will see on Saturday, others you will see in the upcoming months. Leshawn Rodriguez (9-0 7KO) unfortunately had to pull out due to an injury but he’s a terrific fighter. Cassius Chaney (13-0 6KO) is a terrific heavy weight fighter. We just signed Denis Douglin (21-6 13KO) he’s one of those guys who has a lot going for him. He took some bad advice on a fight once and suddenly his career was going to waste, but no we are going to make a career for him. We have Madiyar Ashkeyev (10-0 6 KO), Meriim Nursultanov (8-0 5KO), Enriko Gogokhia (8-0 3KO) and Frank Galarza (20-2-2 12KO). We have a lot of really talented young fighters who are going to be the next generation of people you hear about. We to say this last big group of the Pacquiao’s, the Mayweather’s, the Klitschko’s they all lasted beyond the prime of fighters of generations past because we know more about nutrition, and training. They’ve extended their athletic careers so, it’s been a while since a new crowd has come along and took over. I believe this is going to be the beginning of that and I hope that the people I just mentioned and a few others are going to be in the vanguard of that and I look forward to being part of it.
Boxing Insider – Thank you so much Kathy. Wishing you all the best.
Kathy Duva has over 38 years of experience in the business of professional boxing and is the CEO of Main Events promotions. Kathy has helped promote many legendary careers such as Evander Holyfield, Fernando Vargas, Vinnie Pazienza, Lennox Lewis and many more.
Tune in Saturday Nov 3rd for Sullivan vs. Monaghan live globally on Facebook Watch via the Golden Boy Fight Night Page beginning at 6:00 p.m. PT/ 9:00 p.m. ET.
Sergey Kovalev-Eleider Alvarez Rematch Coming to ESPN in Early 2019
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Eleider “Storm” Alvarez lit up the Atlantic City Boardwalk in a pitched battle last month. The two will renew acquaintances early next year live on a Top Rank on ESPN card as part of a co-promotion with Main Event and Krusher Promotions, in association with Groupe Yvon Michel.
Alvarez knocked down Kovalev three times in the seventh round and scored a TKO to capture the WBO light heavyweight title in a shocking upset. Kovalev led on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage and hopes to pick up where the first six rounds left off.
“We are very happy to be joining forces with Top Rank and ESPN for what we expect will be another exciting and historic fight,” said Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events. “Sergey was clearly winning his first bout with Alvarez when he just got caught. It happens. Congratulations to Alvarez for his spectacular performance, but Sergey is a warrior. He let me know that he is anxious to avenge this loss as soon as possible. We are looking forward to the new year!”
“Bringing this marquee rematch to boxing fans on ESPN is a great way to start 2019,” said Top Rank President Todd duBoef. “The light heavyweight division is loaded, and both Kovalev and Alvarez have fan-friendly styles that will make for another gripping fight.”
Added Burke Magnus, ESPN Executive Vice President of Programming and Scheduling: “This has been an exciting year for boxing on ESPN, and the Kovalev-Alvarez rematch is another example of the world-class caliber of events we look forward to continue to showcase on Top Rank on ESPN in 2019.”
Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) established himself as one of this generation’s preeminent light heavyweight champions with nine title defenses across two title reigns. He first won the WBO title in August 2013, traveling to Wales and knocking out hometown champion Nathan Cleverly in the fourth round. He became the unified champion in November 2014 with a dominating 12-round decision against future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins and further enhanced his résumé with a pair of knockout wins against former lineal light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal. Kovalev lost the title via controversial decision loss to Andre Ward in November 2016. After dropping the rematch via eighth-round TKO, Kovalev recaptured the WBO title with a second-round TKO against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November of last year. He defended the title once before the first Alvarez bout.
Alvarez (24-0, 12 KOs), a former Colombian amateur standout who resides in Montreal, is a nine-year pro with a host of A-list names on his résumé, including: Kovalev, Pascal, and former super middleweight world champion Lucian Bute. The Kovalev triumph is the signature victory on his record. Come 2019, Alvarez hopes it’s repeat rather than revenge.
Use the hashtag #AlvarezKovalev to join the conversation on social media.
Alvarez Knocks Out Kovalev In Thrilling Fashion
by: Sean Crose
Major boxing returned to Atlantic City on Saturday night, as Sergey Kovalev, 32-2-1, defended his WBO Light Heavyweight Title against the undefeated 23-0 Eleider Alvarez. First, though WBA Light Heavyweight champ Dimitry Bivol, 13-0, defended his title against veteran contender Isaac Chilemba, 25-2-2. Bivol came out swinging – and landing. Chilemba was too crafty to be blown out right away, but Bivol ended up dominating the round, regardless. Bivol unloaded in the second. Chilemba once again held strong, but Bivol was also proving to be a patient fighter. By the third it was clear Bivol was simply the much stronger man. Chilemba was brave and game, but it wasn’t enough.
The fourth showed more of the same. It was perfectly clear at that point that Bivol was looking like a very formidable fighter indeed. It could be argued that Chilemba had a better go of it in the middle rounds, but it was clear that Bivol was still in charge of the fight overall. As the fight pushed into the later rounds, however, there seemed to be a contentedness in Bivol’s performance. Then again, the veteran Chilemba was able to go the distance with Kovalev, back when Kovalev was feared throughout the division. After a full twelve rounds, it seemed that Bivol didn’t dominate AS MUCH as it looked like he might have. Still, the man earned a well deserved unanimous decision win.
It was time for the main event. The first round was close, but Kovalev controlled the tempo. The second was also close, but Alvarez landed the sharper punches. Kovalev’s body shots seemed to give the Russian an edge, albeit a slight one, in round three. Kovalev had a good fourth, so good that it was a credit to Alvarez that he remained standing. Kovalev went on to take the fifth – barely. It was a close fight, albeit one Kovalev was edging. Things started getting ugly in the sixth, as Kovalev’s power started to really tell the tale, while Alvarez started to show some blood. Alvarez, however, was fighting very well. Again, it was the strength of Kovalev that was telling the tale.
And then, all of the sudden, a HUGE right dropped Kovalev in the seventh. Then Alvarez sent his man to the mat again. And then…Kovalev was knocked out. In explosive fashion, Alvarez became the big man of the light heavyweight division. It was a stunning and explosive end to an exciting, hitting match.
There’s a new big name in the fight game…one that, ironically, has been around for quite some time.
HBO Boxing Preview: Bivol vs. Chilemba, Kovalev vs. Alvarez
By: William Holmes
Atlantic City has seen a surge in the past year in the number of boxing events held in the local casinos, and with Sports Betting now legal in New Jersey, it appears that the surge will continue.
On Saturday night Main Events Promotions will promote a solid fight card at the Etess Arena at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City. Two light heavyweight world title bouts will be featured on that card, the main event of Sergey Kovalev vs. Sleider Alvarez and the co-main event between Dmitry Bivol and Isaac Chilemba for Bivol’s title.
The undercard will feature several prospects and local fighters, including Karl Dargan, Vaughn Alexander, Denis Douglin, Frank Galarza, and Bakhram Murtazaliev.
The following is a preview of the two televised fights.
Dmitry Bivol (13-0) vs. Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2); WBA Light Heavyweight Title
The opening bout of the night will be a light heavyweight title fight between Dmitry Bivol and Isaac Chilemba.
Bivol is a Russian boxer with a deep amateur background. He was Russian National Gold Medalist as well as a World Cadet Championship gold medalist. Chilemba does not have the amateur credentials of Bivol.
Chilemba will have a slight one inch height advantage over Bivol. However, Bivol is the harder puncher of the two. Chilemba only has ten stoppage victories on his resume while Bivol has stopped elevent of his opponents, only two went the distance.
Inactivity should be of some concern to Chilemba. He only fought once in 2018, zero times in 2017, and twice in 2016. Chilemba has also gone 1-3 in his past four fights.
Bivol has been more active than Chilemba. He fought once in 2018 and four times in 2017. By his eleventh professional fight Bivol was already a world champion.
Chilemba has some big losses on his resume. He has losses to Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Sergey Kovalev, Eleider Alvarez, and Tony Bellew. His notable wins include Blake Caparello, Vasily Lepikhin, Denis Grachev, and Edison Miranda.
Bivol has been fairly dominant in his career. He has beaten the likes of Sullivan Barrera, Trent Broadhurst, Cedric Agnew, and Samuel Clarkson.
Bivol appears to be following Sergey Kovalev’s career path and has beaten some opponents that previously faced Kovalev. Chilemba will likely be no different.
Sergey Kovalev (32-2-1) vs. Eleider Alvarez (23-0); WBO Light Heavyweight Title
Sergey Kovalev was long considered one of the top boxers in the light heavyweight division, but back to back losses to Andre Ward has faded his shine a little bit. But he’s still a very dangerous boxer and one of the top guys in the light heavyweight division.
However, he’s facing one of the biggest tests of his professional career in Eleider Alvarez.
Both Kovalev and Alvarez has extensive amateur backgrounds. Kovalev is a former Gold Medalist in the Russian National Championships and Alvarez represented Columbia in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Both boxers are slightly past their athletic primes. Kovalev is 35 years old and Alvarez is 34 years old. Kovalev will have a two inch height advantage and about a three inch reach advantage on Alvarez.
Both boxers have been fairly active in recent years. Kovalev fought once in 2018 and twice in 2017. Alvarez fought twice in 2017 and 2016 but has yet to fight in 2018.
Kovalev’s only losses were to Andre Ward, an all time great. He has defeated the likes of Igor Mikhalkin, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal, Nadjib Mohammedi, Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Nathan Cleverly, and Gabriel Campillo
Alvarez has defeated the likes of Jean Pascal, Lucian Bute, Isaac Chilemba, Robert Berridge, and Alexander Johnson.
This writer feels this bout will be very close and competitive. Alvarez has been on a hot streak recently with some impressive wins, but has never fought someone on the level of Kovalev.
If Kovalev can use his reach and height advantage well he should win this bout, but an upset wouldn’t be surprising.
Sergey Kovalev On Eleider Alvarez: “We Have A Big Test Next Saturday”
By: Sean Crose
In just a few days, on August 4th, to be exact, Sergey Kovalev will return to Atlantic City in order to defend his WBO world light heavyweight title belt against the undefeated 23-0 Eleider Alvarez. Atlantic City, which has been home to several notable Kovalev bouts, hasn’t hosted a fight featuring the man named “Krusher” since Kovalev outskilled the iconic Bernard Hopkins back in 2014. Much has changed since that time, but the 32-2-1 Kovalev is eager to once again leave his mark on the famous fight town. “Long time,” he says over the phone, discussing his time away from Atlantic City. “I’m really happy (to be) back.”
Since losing twice to Andre Ward (once in controversial fashion) in 2016 and 2017 respectively, Kovalev has returned to the ring with two straight knockouts in the past year. Needless to say, the 35 year old isn’t slowing down. Alvarez may only be a year younger than Kovalev, and not much of a knockout artist, either – but the challenger is hungry and will be coming into the ring with a unique skill set which has led to an undefeated career (so far at least) in the professional ranks. Yet Kovaelv, the veteran champion, isn’t one to let his own nerves get the better of him.
“You know,” Kovalev says of his training in easygoing, slightly broken English, “(I’m) just making shape to be ready for anything.” It would be easy for the man to look ahead, to imagine completing his dream of unifying the light heavyweight titles. “Right now,” though, his goal is to “focus (on Alvarez).” Should he win on August 4th, however, people will once again be asking for a bout with fellow titlist Adonis Stevenson. They will also ask if Stevenson, who – fairly or not – has earned a reputation in various quarters for ducking Kovalev, will be willing to finally meet his counterpart in the ring.
Not one to project, Kovalev makes it clear that it would be unwise for him to to look beyond Alvarez at this point. “Chickenson,” Kovalev says (Chickenson is his name for Stevenson) “should fight Alex (the undefeated Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who Stevenson is said to be facing in November).” And if both Kovalev and Stevenson emerge victorious in their next bouts? “After this (the Alvarez match), we will speak about any possible fight,” Kovaelv says. To Kovalev, it seems, the most important business is the business at hand. “We have a big test next Saturday,” he states. No doubt Eleider Alvarez agrees.
Sergey Kovalev: “My Goal Is To Get All Four Titles”
By: Sean Crose
“This is my biggest opportunity,” light heavyweight Eleider Alvarez said of his August 4th title fight against WBO champ Sergey Kovalev in Atlantic City. “I waited three and a half years.” Alvarez was in line to face WBC champ Adonis Stevenson for ages, but, as has sometimes been the case for potential Stevenson opponents over the years, the bout never materialized. Now the undefeated Colombian fighter finally has his chance. “I’m going to be ready for this,” Alvarez claimed on a Tuesday conference call. For his part, Kovalev seems prepared to slip on the gloves and prove whose best, as well.
Photo Credit: Main Events Twitter Account
“He’s undefeated,” Kovelev said of his foe in his trademark broken English (Alvarez himself spoke through a translator), “he’s number one WBC rank.” Still, Kovalev made it clear that he’s not the type to be easily frightened. “I’m not scared,” he said on the call. “I’m ready to face any champion.” Indeed, Kovalev wishes to finally accomplish his longstanding dream of unifying all the major light heavyweight belts. “My goal is to get all four titles,” he said, “to be undisputed champion.”
That may be a very hard goal to accomplish in an era of competing promotional outfits and networks. What’s more, Stevenson, fairly or not, has a reputation in many quarters for having previously been completely unwilling to face Kovelev in a unification match. Asked whether he was tired of hearing about the likes of Stevenson and Andre Ward, who bested him in the ring twice, Kovalev came across as unperturbed. “It’s part of my career,” he stated. “I’m happy I’m still fighting, but Andre Ward’s already retired.”
I asked Kovalev’s promoter, Kathy Duva, and Alvarez’ promoter, Yvon Michel, how difficult it was to make Kovalev-Alvarez after Alvarez had been standing at the door to a championship fight for so long. “From my perspective,” said Duva, “it was extremely easy.” According to Duva, she simply gave, Michel a call, an assertion Michel quickly backed up. “We had a meeting,” he said, referring to events that occurred immediately after the Duva call. “I came back from that meeting with a mandate.” And hence, a title bout was made. “It’s not that difficult,” Duva said, “when you have two fighters who want to make the fight.”
Rising star Dmitry Bivol will also be on the August 4th card. He’ll be facing veteran fighter Isacc Chilemba, who stunned Sullivan Barerra in March. The winner will be in he possession of the WBA light heavyweight title. That means, should they both win this weekend, a Kovalev-Bivol bout may be on the horizon. “Most likely the fight will happen,” Bivol said, “as Sergey and I are both HBO boxers.”
Sergey Kovalev Demolishes Mikhalkin; Bivol Shines against Barrera
By Eric Lunger
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) returned Saturday night to the Madison Square Garden Theatre, defending his WBO World light heavyweight strap against fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) in a twelve-round bout on HBO Championship Boxing. Kovalev, now age 34, was looking to continue his comeback in the division, after losing two tough fights to now-retired Andre Ward.
Photo Credit: HBO Boxing Twitter Accoun
Having dispatched Vyacheslav Shabranskyy with relative ease three months ago, Kovalev’s appeared to opt for a second tune-up against little-know Mikhalkin, who was making his first appearance in the United States. The challenger, a six-foot-one southpaw, came into the bout with a decent record, but no big names on his resume. Scoring only one knockout in his last eight outings, Mikhalkin would have to put on a boxing clinic in order to compete with the heavily-favored Kovalev.
Kovalev dominated the first round, landing stiff jabs and occasional power punches. Mikhalkin stayed behind his guard, and kept his hands home as though trying to gauge what exactly he had in front of him. The second was more of the same, as Kovalev landed hard shots for which his opponent has no answer. In a slightly more competitive third round, Mikhalkin found the range to land a few shots, but Kovalev continued to dictate the pace.
As the rounds wore on, Kovalev did not look particularly sharp, with some sloppy footwork marring his performance. Still, Kovalev staggered Mikhalkin in the fifth, but the challenger’s southpaw stance seemed to stymie the Champion. In the sixth, Kovalev opened a nasty cut under Mikhalkin’s right eye with a brutal left hand. In addition, Mikhalkin had a significant cut on the bridge of his nose. The seventh was hard to watch. Mikhalkin was beaten and beaten up. With 35 seconds left in the round, the ring-side doctor (rightly) stopped the fight. Kovalev wins by TKO in the seventh.
The co-main event, also in the light heavyweight division, featured WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) of Kyrgyzstan versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) of Miami, FL, by way of Cuba. Barrera, having fought Ward (loss), Shabranskyy, and Joe Smith, Jr. (wins), is familiar to American fight fans, while Bivol is highly-touted for his fundamentals and speed, but is less well known.
In round one, both fighters tried to establish the jab and both fighters did good work to the body. Bivol showed a high level of confidence, not seemingly fazed by the big stage. Barrera opened a slight cut over Bivol’s right eye in the second — replay showed that it was a head butt — and seemed to gain confidence as the round went on, countering Bivol and looking smooth and comfortable. The third was more competitive, as Bivol started to initiate and throw combinations. The pace slowed slightly in the fourth, both fighters standing in the pocket and trying to impose their game plan on the other. Bivol looked to jab and throw combinations, while Barrera was attempting to time and counter his Kyrgyzstani opponent. It was clean and attractive boxing, with no clinches or running.
In the fifth, Bivol began to show a combination of footwork and hand speed unusual at this weight class, and Barrera had no answers. The Cuban showed real resilience in the sixth, mounting a sustained body attack while absorbing some straight right hands from Bivol. The seventh ended with a flurry from both fighters, but Bivol seemed to land the more accurate shots.
Going into the eighth, I saw the fight as fairly close — but in that round Bivol looked fresher and more confident, bouncing on the balls of his feet, dropping his lead left hand, and throwing combinations. Barrera started to look tired for the first time in the fight. Nonetheless, there was no quit, no resignation in Barrera in these later rounds: he continued to battle and look for opportunities. He just couldn’t find any.
The championship rounds saw Bivol continue to box, showing impressive conditioning, while Barrera could not match the younger fighter’s speed and distance control. In the twelfth, Bivol caught Barrera standing sideways to him. It was an error by the Cuban, and Bivol pounced, landing a jab that stunned Barrera, setting up a straight right. Barrera beat the count, but referee Harvey Dock waved off the bout. Dmitry Bivol boxed cleanly, intelligently, and athletically. It was an impressive performance.
Kovalev and Bivol to Defend Separate Belts on HBO card Saturday Night
By Eric Lunger
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) returns Saturday night to the Madison Square Garden Theatre against fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) in a twelve-round light heavyweight WBO world championship bout. Kovalev is coming off a second-round TKO of Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November of last year, Ifalso If also MSG, where he won the WBO belt that had been vacated by Kovalev’s nemesis, the now-retired Andre Ward.
Photo Credit: Main Events Twitter Account
Kovalev looks to reclaim his light heavyweight titles, which he lost to Ward in November of 2016. Ward nipped a close 12 round decision, winning by one round on all three judges’ cards. In the rematch, Kovalev was stopped in a controversial fashion, having taken what some saw as a series of low blows. Kovalev emerged onto the world-wide boxing scene in 2013 when he stopped England’s Nathan Cleverly in the fourth round, picking up the WBO belt for the first time. He then reeled off three stoppage wins and then a 12-round decision over Bernard Hopkins in November of 2014. Having now claimed the IBF and WBA belts, “Krusher” made four successful defenses until running into Ward. Still ranked number one by Ring Magazine, Kovalev, now at age 34, looks to continue his journey back to the undisputed top of the division on Saturday night.
After the two losses to Ward, Kovalev switch trainers to Abror Tursunpulatov, submitting to a much higher level of direction: “I don’t think about what I should do, what I need to do, how many minutes or rounds,” Kovalev told Main Events, “everything is under his plan and his control. I like it, and right now I don’t spend my energy to think about training camp. Everything is under the control of Abror.” And like the veteran he is, Kovalev understands the challenge of fighting a contender like Mikhalkin: “he is very motivated. He comes here [to a Championship bout], and he is very dangerous because it is a great opportunity for his future boxing career … and I should be ready for everything he can bring against me.”
Igor Mikhalkin will be making his first appearance fighting in the US. At age 32, the 6-foot-one southpaw holds the IBO World light heavyweight belt, having outpointed Doudou Ngumbu of France in twelve-round clash in December of last year. With only one KO in his last eight outings, Mikhalkin will have to outbox Kovalev. A slugfest would favor the man they call the “Krusher.” Mikhalkin’s most notable win was over then-undefeated Thomas Oosthuizen (27-0-2) in May of 2017 in Hamburg, Germany, Mikhalkin’s adopted home town.
Mikhalkin knows a bit about Kovalev, however, as they were teammates in their amateur days two decades ago. Mikhalkin says, “What I remember of Sergey from those day, he was always working and training really hard, and doing his job as a boxer. Since then, I’ve seen every one of his fights and I respect him for what he has done.” The Irkutsk-born Mikhalkin knows what an enormous opportunity this is: “I’m not as well known, but I get to fight a very popular opponent, a very dangerous opponent with lots of fans. It would change everything in my life.”
The co-Main event features a fascinating clash between two other world-level light heavyweights, albeit from very different boxing traditions: WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) of Kyrgyzstan versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) of Miami, FL, by way of Cuba. Bivol, 27, is riding a four-fight knock out streak. He won the WBA belt by defeating Trent Broadhurst (20-2, 12 KOs) of Australia via a first-round knockout. Bivol made a splash last June on the Ward vs. Kovalev II undercard, where he punished a tough Cedric Agnew, stopping the Chicago fighter in the fourth.
Bivol is thankful to be fighting at MSG on the same card as the vaunted Kovalev: “it’s a pleasure to fight on a card where there’s going to be two world champions from Russia, fighting on the same night… I think the fans should be very glad, the Russian fans and all the fans who like both of us, will come and see both of us fight.” The Kyrgyzstan native realizes that Barrera is a real step up in opposition, but he is excited to step in the ring with the Cuban: “I want to fight with the best guys. Barrera accepted our challenge. I’m glad he did.”
Sullivan Barrera, like other former Cuban amateur standouts, started his professional career somewhat late. But he has been busy over the last two years. After losing to Andre Ward in March of 2016 by twelve-round unanimous decision, Barrera reeled off four victories. He earned stoppage wins over Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (2016) and prospect Paul Parker (2017). Barrera then finished a three-fight 2017 with decision wins over Joe Smith, Jr., in July, and Felix Valera in November, the latter on the Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy undercard. Saturday night is Barrera’s first title shot, and the Cuban knows that Bivol will be a difficult opponent: “Bivol is a good fighter and it is known that he has speed but we have a plan to adjust to the speed and take it away. We are going to impose ourselves and use our abilities. It would be a dream come true to win the title.”
The action will be broadcast live this Saturday night at 10:00 PM ET/PT on H
Boxing Insider Notebook: Roy Jones Jr., Khan, Bowe, Kovalev, and more…
Compiled By: William Holmes
The following is the Boxing Insider notebook for the week of January 30th to February 6th; covering the comings and goings in the sport of boxing that you might have missed.
Roy Jones Junior Quotes for his Last Fight
One of the greatest careers in ring history will come to close this Thursday night, when the legendary Roy Jones Junior competes in his final bout as a professional boxer bout as a professional boxer.
Widely considered one of the very best pound-for-pound fighters of all time Jones, 65-9 (47KOs), competes in cruiserweight (200lbs) bout vs Scott Sigmon, 30-11-1 (16KOs). The 10-rounder serves as the main event to a five fight Island Fights main card which features both boxing and mixed martial arts bouts.
The event will be live-streamed and available on video-on-demand basis exclusively on UFCFIGHTPASS, the UFC’s digital streaming service.
Joining combat sport play-by-play veteran TJ De Santis in the commentator booth will be Jeff Lacy. Known as “Left Hook” during his boxing career, Lacy represented the United States at the 2000 Olympics and went on to win the same IBF super-middleweight title Jones had annexed a decade earlier. Lacy also fought Jones in 2009 (the entire fight is available on UFC FIGHT PASS) and will bring a wealth of knowledge to the event.
ROY JONES JUNIOR FLASH QUOTES:
ON FIGHTING ON UFC FIGHT PASS
“This is the first live boxing on UFC FIGHT PASS. I love being the first to do something, so to be the first boxing event on UFC FIGHT PASS is cool. When I turned pro back in 1989, I said I wanted to bring new audiences boxing and that’s what I tried to do. By having my last night as a fighter on the
UFC’s (streaming service) I’m bringing new eyeballs to boxing and I’m throwing a spotlight on the boxing and MMA fighters who are on the event.
“I’m been a fan of the UFC for years. Me and (UFC President) Dana White have been friends for a long time, since before he even got started with the UFC. We’ve talked about FIGHT PASS showing a fight (of mine) and it has come about perfectly.”
ON HIS FINAL FIGHT
“It feels different. I’m emotional even thinking about how I’m going to feel on the day. I’m almost tearing up talking. I’m worried about how I am going to feel all day of the fight. I may be crying all day – but once I am in the ring I’ll have to put those tears away because there’s gonna be a guy in the other corner looking to beat me. Scott Sigmon won’t care about those tears. He cares about getting the win, that’s the reality.
“I turned professional in May 1989 in this same arena, but I’ve been doing this since 1979. In 39 years there’s not been a single day where I didn’t put on glove, skip, watch tape or spend time thinking about boxing.
“Boxing has been my life and it is my life. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. So much of it is still fresh (in my mind), not one thing but so much jumps out when I look back… representing my country at the Olympics in 1988, becoming a world champion for the first time, becoming the No.1 pound-for-pound vs James Toney, winning the world heavyweight title… like it was all yesterday.”
ON GETTING OLDER
“I’m not sad to get older, we all get old. I had a great prime. I was good in my prime, y’know? I wasn’t surprised that I was getting old, and that my abilities were getting more limited. Everybody knows everybody gets old, but I think some guys really don’t think their body will get old.
“I accepted it. People told me to retire but I knew what I could do and I’ve never let anyone tell me what to do.
“There are things I wanted to accomplish that I knew were no longer within my reach. I love boxing, even out of my prime I love boxing like I did when I was champ. But you can’t go on forever no matter how much you love it. It’s time, I’m ready to say goodbye.”
After MTV Super Fight League Ropes in Fox Networks Group for an Asian Broadcasting Deal
FOX Sports Asia has entered into a brand new one-year exclusive multimedia and broadcastrights agreement for the second season of Super Fight League, the world’s first mixed martial arts tournament, promoted by British businessman and sports enthusiast Bill Dosanjh and British professional boxer Amir Khan on their television and digital platforms in Asia.
Promising reach in more than 500 million homes by broadcasting action pack content, the licensed territories include Brunei, Cambodia, China, East Timor, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Singapore, Philippines, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam . Earlier this year, SFL came to one-year agreement on a broadcasting deal with MTV, Viacom 18 in India to broadcast all matches for season 2 (till 2019)
Having garnered over a whopping 100 million views in 5 years for 67 live televised events, Super Fight League is ranked as the third biggest Mixed Martial Arts brand in the world and second most watched sport in India after cricket apart from being the fastest growing combat sport.The franchise-based league that is being organized in association with the All-India Martial Arts Association (AIMMAA) will entail prize money of INR 4 crores as well as 96 players and 8 teams as listed below –
Bill Dosanjh, CEO & Founder of Super Fight League stated, “We are excited to be partnering with FOX Networks Group, the leading multi-platform entertainment group across the world. This association will further capitalize on our long term vision of taking SFL to different markets. In the next 3 years we would like to take SFL to the Asian markets where MMA is more popular than a sport like cricket and comes second after soccer. The opportunity to have our premier content available in over 500 million homes will immediately accelerate the growth of the SFL brand and the sport of MMA across the region. The emergence of young Indian mixed martial artists coupled with FOX’s marketing muscle and distribution, will allow us to expand our event output beyond India and into the rest of the world in the coming years.”
Brian Sullivan, President of FOX Networks Groupadded, “This new agreement allows us to continue adding value to our uniquely holistic entertainment experience, aiming to suit all our fans’ preferences. We are quite delighted to deliver first class MMA content through our channels and digital platforms. The passion of Asian fans for mixed martial arts makes this category key to our content offering, and we will contribute with our know-how to make the experience of living it in our portfolio unbeatable.”
Elaborating Asian athlete and two-time world champion Amir Khan states, “I think we’ll be considered mainstream just like the NFL and NBA now. To be on the Fox platform, we’re not second class anymore. This new agreement represents a great opportunity and will allow us to attract a new fanbase for the sport where MMA has a strongly established tradition as well as huge potential to gather and galvanize new fans.”
Formed in 2012 by British-Indian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Bill Dosanjh with an intent to give Indian mixed martial artists a platform to compete and hone their talent in their country of origin whilst bringing in talented fighters from different parts of the world, SFL is a revolutionary approach to combat and is the first MMA organization to feature female fighters. MTV SFL 2018 will promote gender equality through a fair and unique platform with women having the same influence on the team as men. The league entails a group ‘A’ and ‘B’, consisting of four teams each. Every team has six players—five male fighters and one female—and six back-ups, belonging to six different weight categories. The teams within the group compete with each other in 12 league-level matches.
The second season of the leading MMA league will be conducted at MTV SFL Arena, Famous Studios, Mahalaxmi, Mumbai from February 9, 2018 to March 17, 2018.
Riddick Bowe to be Special Guest for February 22nd Golden Boy Boxing Card
Former Undisputed Heavyweight World Champion Riddick “Big Daddy” Bowe will be the special VIP guest for the Feb. 22 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. The highly anticipated headlining matchup will feature 126-pound contender Joseph “JoJo” Diaz, Jr. (25-0, 13 KOs) defending his NABF and NABO Featherweight Titles against former world champion Victor “Vikingo” Terrazas (38-4-2, 21 KOs) in a 10-round fight.
Doors to the Special Events Center open and first fight begins at 5:00 p.m. PT. ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will transmit the fights beginning at 11:30 p.m. ET/8:30 p.m. PT, and streaming on ESPN3 starting at 10:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. PT.
A certified Hall of Famer, “Big Daddy” Bowe is known as the only Undisputed Heavyweight World Champion to have earned belts from all four main sanctioning bodies – WBC, WBA, IBF, and WBO. The controversial heavyweight faced some of the best fighters of his era, including Andrzej Golota, Evander “The Real Deal” Holyfield, Jorge Luis Gonzalez, Herbie “Dancing Destroyer” Hide, and Michael “Dynamite” Dokes. Bowe is also one of five former heavyweight champions to have never suffered a stoppage defeat in the span of more than 40 fights in his career. Bowe will be in attendance for this event to meet fans, sign autographs and take pictures inside the Fantasy Springs Special Events Center before the ESPN transmission begins. The meet-and-greet is open to the public with the purchase of a ticket to the event.
Tickets for the event start at $25 and are available at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino box office, by calling 1-800-827-2946, or by purchasing online at www.fantasyspringsresort.com.
Chief support to the main event battle will be knockout artist Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (8-0, 8 KOs), who will participate in the eight-round co-main event for the vacant Junior NABF Super Lightweight Title against the dangerous Jesus “Carambolas” Alvarez (15-3,11 KOs) of Sinaloa, Mexico. Ortiz, Jr. has never heard the final bell of a bout and will be putting his spotless record on the line as he takes a step up in competition and fights for his first regional title.
Lightweight knockout artist Christian “Chimpa” Gonzalez (18-1, 15 KOs) will make his highly anticipated ring return over a scheduled eight rounds of action and will kick off the ESPN3 coverage.Gonzalez will face Rey “Flash” Perez (21-9, 6 KOs), a Filipino fighter who now calls Los Angeles home and who was last seen giving Lamont Roach, Jr. trouble in the main event of the Nov. 30 edition of Golden Boy Boxing on ESPN.
Manny “Chato” Robles III (14-0, 6 KOs), who is trained by his world-renowned father, Manny Robles, Jr., will participate in an eight-round featherweight affair. Power punching prospect Edgar “Kid Neza” Valerio (10-0, 7 KOs) of Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl by way of South Central, Los Angeles, Calif. will participate in an eight-round battle in the 126-pound division.
San Diego’s Genaro “El Conde” Gamez (6-0, 4 KOs) will participate in an eight-round lightweight fight, and Hector “El Finito” Tanajara, Jr. (11-0, 4 KOs) of San Antonio, Texas will open up the stacked card at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in a scheduled eight-round super featherweight fight.
Opponents for all these exciting prospects will be announced shortly.
AIBA Releases Progress Report on Governance
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Executive Board decided to maintain the financial suspension of AIBA and demanded a new report on AIBA governance by April 30th . This decision was made despite AIBA’s fulfilment of the IOC’s request to submit a Progress Report outlining all steps AIBA was asked to take and continues to take to improve its governance. To access the full AIBA Progress Report, please see the AIBA website.
This decision is extremely disappointing for AIBA as it hoped the IOC Executive Board would have understood that the processes necessary to implement even more measures require more time and that the positive steps already taken in recent times are evidence of AIBA’s strong efforts and willingness to reform.
Over the next six months AIBA will be in the process of a complete organisational review, which will lead to the ‘New Foundation Plan’ for AIBA. This plan and the recommendations produced will be discussed during the AIBA Executive Committee meeting in July and an update will be provided to the IOC in the requested April 30th report.
In the meantime, AIBA will continue its efforts to convince the IOC of its determination to not repeat any of the past mistakes and its commitment to a fresh, positive future centered on good governance and sound management.
Tickets on Sale for Kovalev vs. Mikhalkin
Tickets are on sale for the upcoming showdown between two-time Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) versus Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs) and WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) versus Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs), which takes place on Saturday, March 3 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Tickets for this exciting event are priced from $50 to $300 and are available through ticketmaster.com and the Madison Square Garden box office.
Promoted by Main Events, Krusher Promotions and World of Boxing in association with EC Box Promotions, the event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:05 p.m. ET/PT.
About March 3: The Saturday, March 3 main event between Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Igor Mikhalkin is a 12-round match-up for the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The co-main event features WBA Light Heavyweight World Champion Dmitry Bivol versus Sullivan Barrera in a 12-round title fight. The event is promoted by Main Events, Krusher Promotions and World of Boxing in association with EC Box Promotions and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing®. Tickets range from $50 to $300 and will be available through TicketMaster.com, the Madison Square Garden Box office and the Main Events office by calling 973-200-7050 or emailing [email protected]
The Krusher Returns: True or False?
By: Kirk Jackson
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev 31-2-1 (27 KO’s) certainly looked confident after securing victory for the first time since July of 2016, recapturing the WBO light heavyweight championship in the process.
Scoring a 2nd round knock-out over Vyacheslav “Lion heart” Shabranskyy 19-2 (16 KO’s), Kovalev aims to conquer the light heavyweight terrain heading into 2018.
Photo Credit: David Spagnola/Main Events
“I did it and worked very hard to get to champion status. My brain, mentally, my conditioning, my body – I’m back. It’s my goal to be the best in this division. I am here, I love boxing,” said Kovalev in a post-fight interview.
Kovalev is scheduled to return back to the ring in March of 2018, against an opponent yet to be determined and with his biggest obstacle (Andre Ward retirement) no longer in the picture, is the path clear for the Russian “Krusher” to resume reign over the division?
HBO boxing analysts Jim Lampley and Max Kellerman suggest that is the case.
They actually suggested upon conclusion of the fight and during the post-fight interview with Kovalev, that we should forget about the two fights against Ward that previously took place – resulting in defeats for Kovalev.
It’s as though they want to paint a narrative where the viewer is supposed to forget about Kovalev losing and we are to wash that foul taste out of our mouths.
Well for one, reality does not work that way, what’s done is done and history cannot be erased.
However, Kovalev can use these previous experiences and set-backs and learn from those situations.
Redemption can be a wonderful story and adversity plays its part as the antagonist.
Over the course of the past year, Kovalev experienced his share of adversity losing to Ward twice, along with the dysfunction within his training camp including discord between head trainer John David Jackson.
The boxing ring serves as an absolute truth, because it reveals everything about whoever steps in the ring.
It reveals who trained, who properly prepared and poses the question to each combatant who wants it more? During the duration of a fight, the ring also exposes strengths and weaknesses for those who enter.
Defeat brings upon harsh reality as well.
When a fighter experiences defeat, many cases there’s an evaluation of the process; training regimen, coaching, outside distractions/activities, all the aspects of preparation leading up to the fight.
Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva, hardcore fans of the “Krusher,” along with Kovalev himself emphasized the notion he was robbed of a decision in the first encounter against Ward and was unfairly stopped against Ward in the rematch – due to poor officiating.
The perspective with each case is subjective, but the results in which is etched in history is a defeat on two occasions for Kovalev.
Something to consider as well, if Kovalev felt so strongly in his mind about the result of each fight with Ward, why undergo vast changes in training camp in preparation for the second fight against Ward and then again for his most recent fight against Shabranskyy?
Obviously he needed to switch things up, improve on his skill-set and changes had to occur. There was a glaring disconnect between trainer and fighter. With Jackson out, Kovalev is now being prepared by Abror Tursunpulatov.
Now that Kovalev is back in the winner’s circle after destroying Shabranskyy and equipped with a world title, questions still remain.
The fight against Shabranskyy was a small sample size and not a true telling tale to see if Kovalev gained improvements to his overall style.
We don’t know how good Shabranskyy is. Regarding high level opposition faced, Shabranskyy fought the likes of light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera and was soundly defeated.
For Kovalev, he looked good in there; he was loose, relaxed and displayed a few new wrinkles to his repertoire.
Known for his reliance on his left jab and straight right hand, Kovalev managed to sneak a few left hooks in there and also jabbed effectively to the body.
Kovalev also displayed weapons presented in previous bouts; laser sharp jabs and a blazing counter-right hand which sparked the end for Shabranskyy.
Perhaps the most important element to recovery for Kovalev was the mental aspect and regaining any lost confidence.
Losing to Ward shouldn’t fully damper what Kovalev has accomplished in his career; he was a top pound-for-pound fighter prior to the pair of defeats and can regain that status depending on how he performs moving forward.
Some of the questions regarding Kovalev is can he return to an elite level and for how long? Former foe Bernard Hopkins, believes Kovalev can fight effectively at a high level for a number of years.
“Although he (Kovalev) is certainly not the youngest guy, he is not an old man, he is still dangerous for a lot of opponents.”
“Sergey can box at the highest level for at least four more years and be at the top. Perhaps, it’s possible that he goes to cruiserweight? Who knows?”
Assuming Kovalev is back on an elite level, there’s the question of the fights against Ward and whether they should be viewed as an anomaly, or a true illustration and exposure of Kovalev’s weaknesses.
Can any other fighters in the division capitalize on the perceived weaknesses of Kovalev? The light heavyweight division is certainly loaded with talent.
Adonis Stevenson 29–1 (24 KO’s) is the WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal champion, Dmitry Bivol 12-0 (10 KO’s) is the WBA champion and Artur Beterbiev 12-0 (12 KO’s) is the WBO champion.
The aforementioned Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KO’s), who has his pick between facing Kovalev or Bivol next for a title, former super middleweight champion Badou Jack 22-1-2 (13 KO’s), Eleider Alvarez 23-0 (11 KO’s), Marcus Browne 20-0 (15 KO’s) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk 14-0 (12 KO’s) occupy the division as well.
The end of 2017 and entering 2018, there is new landscape at light heavyweight and a long list of challenges awaiting Kovalev. Challenges Kovalev aims to embrace.
“I’m a real fighter,” Kovalev said. “I’m not running from the real fighters. In the future, it will be very interesting fights because right now we are just belt-holders. We’ll find out from all of the champions who is the best.”