Kovalev fight in Russia is off
By Allan Fox: IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) won’t be able to fight in November in his home country of Russia like he had been planning on doing. According to Kovalev’s promoters at Main Events, there are scheduling issues that will prevent him from fighting in November like he had wanted to.
The idea is now for the 32-year-old Kovalev to fight in January 2016 against an opponent still to be determined.
“11/28 Krusher Kovalev fight in Russia is off. He will instead fight Jan on HBO boxing as he moves toward a fight with Andre Ward in 2016,” Dan Rafael said on his Twitter.
It’s unknown who Kovalev’s opponent will be when he returns to the ring, but it definitely won’t be Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs). That’s a fight that will eventually take place but it might take a while before they do it.
While Ward is interested in getting into the ring with the smaller and lighter IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in a hurry, he doesn’t seem to be in nearly the same hurry to fight the 6’2” Kovalev.
“The two fights would simply have been too close together,” said Ward’s promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events. “As we worked on Sergey’s schedule for next year, it became clear that the best course would be to schedule his first bout in 2016 as early in the year as possible.”
Ward’s trainer Virgil Hunter says they’re going to take their time in getting ready for an eventual fight with Kovalev at some point. This suggests that Ward could take a number of fights at light heavyweight to get ready for that fight.
Just how many it’s going to take is going to be up to Ward, Hunter and his promoters at Roc Nation Sports. At 31, Ward doesn’t have forever to wait before he fights Kovalev. Ward pretty much lost two years of his career by not fighting from last 2013 until recently.
Ward can’t afford to burn up another two years before getting ready for a fight against Kovalev. Ward can obviously do whatever he wants, but he won’t be doing himself any favors if he waits two to three years before he takes the Kovalev fight.
“While Sergey is disappointed that the bout in Moscow must be postponed, he understands that the change in schedule is necessary at this time and he will return to Russia to fight in front of his fans there as soon as possible,” Duva said.
Kovalev destroyed his IBF mandatory challenger Nadjib Mohammedi in three rounds last July in a one-sided fight. Before that, Kovalev defeated Jean Pascal by an 8th round knockout last March. Last November, Kovalev beat Bernard Hopkins by a 12 round decision. The only guys left for Kovalev to fight at 175, besides Ward, are WBC champion Adonis Stevenson and WBA “regular” champion Jurgen Braehmer.
Oquendo suffers injury during sparring session, cancels fight with Chagaev
42-year-old heavyweight contender Fres Oquendo (37-8, 24 KOs) reportedly suffered a shoulder injury during sparring for his title fight against WBA “regular” heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev (34-2-1, 21 KOs) on October 17th at the Sparkassen Arena in Kiel, Germany.
The injury was bad enough for Oquendo to have to pull out of the fight. It’s unknown at this point when the fight will be rescheduled. Oquendo hurt his shoulder in his training camp in Chicago, Illinois.
There’s no way that they could salvage the October 17th fight date due to there being only 11 days to go for the fight.
“He injured his shoulder sparring, which has been confirmed by an MRI,” Square Ring CEO John Wirt, Oquendo’s co-promoter with Bobby Hitz, said to ESPN.com. “Technically, (it is) a likely anterior labral tear. I haven’t heard yet how long he’s going to be out, but I have been hearing that surgery may be required. It’s really unfortunate because he was in fantastic shape and we were a little over a week from flying to Germany.”
An injury like that sounds like it could take Oquendo awhile before he’ll be able to return to the ring to challenge Chagaev for his title. This likely means that Chagaev will go ahead and defend his WBA title against someone else while he waits for Oquendo’s injured shoulder to heal up enough for him to fight again. It could be good news for #3 WBA Lucas Browne, because he’s next in line to face Chagaev with Oquendo out of the way.
Oquendo lost to Chagaev last year in June by a 12 round majority decision in Grozny, Russia in a close fight. Oquendo was able to get a rematch with Chagaev due to him having a rematch clause in the original contract.
The 36-year-old Chagaev looked pretty good recently in destroying Francesico Pianeta in a 1st round knockout last July in Germany. If Chagaev can fight at the same level against Oquendo that he did against Pianeta, it will hard for Oquendo to hang in there with him.