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Profile: Sergey Kovalev – Canelo vs Kovalev

Sergey Kovalev, - Boxing News 24 boxing photo and news image

Krusher. The nickname says it all. Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev is a three-time light heavyweight world champion and current WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion who knocks out nearly every opponent who dares to step in the ring with him. Originally from Chelyabinsk, Russia, Kovalev now resides with his family in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Sergey’s climb to the highest ranks of boxing started from a difficult life in Russia, a childhood with few comforts. He has emerged from his defeats wiser and with a reinvigorated attitude. After teaming up with trainer, former World Champion James “Buddy” McGirt, and strength and conditioning coach Teddy Cruz, he regained his WBO World Title with a UD win over Eleider Alvarez in their February rematch. The McGirt/Cruz duo are best-known for bringing back the late Arturo Gatti after his crushing loss to Oscar de la Hoya in 2001. McGirt and Cruz worked with Gatti for the remainder of his career including the legendary Gatti-Ward Trilogy.

Sergey made his professional debut on July 25, 2009 (first round TKO of Daniel Chavez in Greensboro, NC). He stopped all five of his subsequent opponents that year within the first and second rounds. In 2012, Kovalev signed with Main Events. Shortly thereafter he burst onto the scene and into the consciousness of boxing fans on January 19, 2013, when he demolished former world champion Gabriel Campillo in three rounds in front of a national U.S. audience on NBCSN Fight Night. He followed that win with a return to Fight Night in June 2013 with a knock out win over Cornelius White.

Kovalev has dominated the light heavyweight division for more than six years and he is still the man to beat in the hot division. The upcoming super fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez will be Kovalev’s 17th consecutive world championship bout. The streak began on August 17, 2013, when Kovalev traveled to the United Kingdom to battle then-undefeated champion, Nathan Cleverly, in Cleverly’s backyard for the WBO Light Heavyweight Championship. Not only was it Kovalev’s first world title fight, but also his first televised by HBO. Sergey made the most of it, winning by TKO in round 4, becoming the first Russian born fighter to hold the WBO Light Heavyweight crown, which was established in 1988.

For his first title defense, on November 30, 2013, Kovalev traveled to Quebec City, Canada where he successfully defended his title against former amateur standout Ismayl Sillakh on HBO Boxing After Dark. Kovalev wasted no time as he finished Sillakh less than one minute into the second round. In his next two title defenses Kovalev would stop two previously-undefeated opponents: Cedric Agnew and Blake Caparello.

His signature win was the November 8, 2014 unification title triumph over future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins that cemented Sergey’s status as the world’s top 175-pound fighter and one of the sport’s top pound-for-pound boxers. The Krusher nearly shutout Hopkins over 12 rounds and added both the WBA and IBF belts to his collection. After the Hopkins victory Kovalev was named Fighter of the Year by the WBO, SI.com, BleacherReport.com, NY Post, USA Today, and SherDog.com. He also made his debut at number nine on ESPN’s pound-for-pound rankings list.

As WBO, WBA and IBF Unified World Champion, Kovalev made four more successful title defenses. He stopped current WBA Interim Champ, Jean Pascal, twice, both times in Pascal’s backyard at Centre Bell in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and in doing so added the WBC Diamond belt to his mantle. He also completed in his first mandatory defense with a third-round stoppage over number one contender Nadjib Mohammedi. Next, he returned to his home country of Russia and defeated Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba with a 12-round unanimous decision victory in front of sold-out crowd in Ekaterinburg.

In November 2016, Kovalev went the distance against former two-time world champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward. The bout was Kovalev’s first appearance on HBO Pay-Per-View and ended in a highly contested one-point decision against Sergey. Kovalev managed to knock down Ward and many thought the cards should have gone in his favor. Sergey got a second shot at Ward in June 2017 when they met again in Las Vegas, Nevada for their highly-anticipated rematch at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Many believed Sergey dominated Ward for most of the fight, but after several uncontested low-blows by the champion, the referee put a halt to the fight, calling it a TKO victory for Ward.

Andre Ward would then retire, thereby vacating the belts, and on November 25, 2017, Sergey stopped Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in the second round at The Theater at Madison Square Garden to reclaim the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title. In his second consecutive bout at MSG, and first defense, Sergey stopped fellow countryman Igor Mikhalkin in the second round.

Sergey then travelled back to Atlantic City to christen the newly-opened Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Kovalev faced Eleider Alvarez in front of sold out crowd at Hard Rock’s Etess Arena. Sergey was leading on all three scorecards against Alvarez but was stopped by the challenger in the seventh round. In February of this year Kovalev made his ESPN debut in his much-anticipated rematch with Alvarez. Kovalev secured a decisive victory in the rematch and reclaimed his WBO title.

With the prospect of the Canelo fight looming, Kovalev fought in his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia for the first time in his professional career on August 24, 2019 at the Traktor Sport Palace. He did not disappoint the sold-out crowd, stopping previously-undefeated mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde in dramatic fashion.

Kovalev is managed by Egis Klimas, promoted by Main Events.

Sergey Kovalev, - Boxing News 24 boxing photo and news image

SERGEY KOVALEV

nickname: KRUSHER
Height: 6’ 1”
Weight: LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT
Date of Birth: APRIL 2, 1983
Hometown: chelyabinsk, russia
STANCE: ORTHODOX
professional Record: 34-3-1 (29 KOs)

DATE OPPONENT LOCATION WT. RESULT TITLE

2009
07/25/2009 DANIEL CHAVEZ NC 175 TKO 1 PRO DEB
08/08/2009 DARRYL JOHNSON SC 172 TKO 1
08/29/2009 MICHAEL BIRTHMARK WA 174 TKO 2
09/12/2009 AYODEJI FADEYI CA 175 TKO 1
10/10/2009 MICKY STACKHOUSE NC 175 TKO 2

2010
03/06/2010 FRANCOIS AMBANG VA 178 KO 2
03/19/2010 NATHAN BEDWELL KY 179 TKO 1
06/19/2010 HARLEY KILFIAN WA 175 TKO 2
09/11/2010 KIA DANIELS CA 177 KO 1
10/09/2010 DARNELL BOONE GA 174 W (M) 8
11/19/2010 DALLAS VARGAS IL 174 TKO 2
12/15/2010 KAREN AVETISYAN RUSSIA 183 W 6

2011
03/12/2011 WILLIAM JOHNSON LA 177 TKO 2
04/01/2011 JULIUS FOGLE IL 174 KO 2
05/06/2011 TERRANCE WOODS CA 174 KO 3
07/29/2011 DOUGLAS OKOLA NV 173 KO 2 NABA/US
08/27/2011 GROVER YOUNG CA 178 TD 2
12/05/2011 ROMAN SIMAKOV RUSSIA 175 TKO 7 ASIAN

2012
06/01/2012 DARNELL BOONE PA 173 TKO 2
09/21/2012 LIONELL THOMPSON PA 173 TKO 3

2013
01/19/2013 GABRIEL CAMPILLO CT 175 TKO 3
06/14/2013 CORNELIUS WHITE PA 174 TKO 3 IBF/ELIM
08/17/2013 NATHAN CLEVERLY WALES 173 TKO 4 WBO
11/30/2013 ISMAYL SILLAKH CANADA 174 KO 2 WBO

2014
03/29/2014 CEDRIC AGNEW NJ 174 KO 7 WBO
08/02/2014 BLAKE CAPARELLO NJ 174 TKO 2 WBO
11/08/2014 BERNARD HOPKINS NJ 174 W 12 BABFBO

2015
03/14/2015 JEAN PASCAL CANADA 174 TKO 8 BABFBO
07/25/2015 NADJIB MOHAMMEDI NV 174 KO 3 BABFBO

2016
01/30/2016 JEAN PASCAL CANADA 174 TKO 7 BABFBO
07/11/2016 ISAAC CHILEMBA RUSSIA 174 W 12 BABFBO
11/19/2016 ANDRE WARD NV 175 L 12 BABFBO

2017
06/17/2017 ANDRE WARD NV 175 TKBY 8 BABFBO
11/25/2017 VYACHESLAV SHABRANSKYY NY 174 TKO 2 WBO/IBA

2018
03/03/2018 IGOR MIKHALKIN NY 174 TKO 7 WBO/IBA
08/04/2018 ELEIDER ALVAREZ NJ 174 KOBY 7 WBO/IBA

2019
02/02/2019 ELEIDER ALVAREZ TX 174 W 12 WBO
08/24/2019 ANTHONY YARDE RUSSIA 174 TKO 11 WBO




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