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Sullivan Barrera links up with former Sergey Kovalev assistant trainer for new title run

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Light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (17-1) has been back in the gym for several weeks as he eagerly awaits the phone call that will give him his next assignment. Barrera is looking to bounce back from his first career loss which took place in March against Andre Ward. There is no shame in losing to a top three pound-for-pound fighter and Barrera is ready for any of the top names in the division.

“I took a couple weeks off after the Ward fight but now I am back at it and ready for the next challenge. I made some mistakes in the Ward fight and we are working on correcting them,” said Barrera.

The 34-year-old Cuban enjoyed a great run with world class trainer Abel Sanchez that included six straight knockout victories. After much thought and consideration, Barrera and his manager Luis Molina decided to enlist the services of Derik Santos. One of the reasons for the move is the close proximity of Santos’ training facility in Boca Raton, Fla. to Barrera’s residence in Miami.

“I want to thank Abel for all that he has done for me. I just feel at this point in time Derik is a better fit for me,” Barrera explained.

Santos may not be as well known as Sanchez, but he has had great success as the former assistant trainer of Sergey Kovalev underneath John David Jackson. He still assists Jackson with Chris Algieri, Curtis Stevens and Bryant Jennings and is the head trainer of several other fighters as well.

The trainer and fighter decided to work with each other for a couple weeks and they clicked so they decided to make the trial run permanent.

“I’d like to thank Luis Molina and Sullivan Barrera for giving me the opportunity to lead the team. As for me, I’ve worked for many years as the main assistant trainer for John David Jackson and for many top contenders and world champions including Sergey Kovalev.

“He is my mentor and I still enjoy a great working relationship with him as well as him being a close friend. I was the assistant trainer for Kovalev for a little over 3 years and was blessed to be able to help him win world championships,” said Santos.

There still isn’t a time table set for Barrera’s return to the ring but he admits to being shocked that he hasn’t received any offers.

“I am ready for any of the top fighters anytime. I am very confident my team will secure a top five opponent but I’m surprised that with my high ranking that no one has reached out to us to make a fight,” Barrera stated.


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