Bivol with his manager, Vadim Kornilov
Bivol with his manager, Vadim Kornilov
Story by: Robert Uzzell
Madison Square Garden, New York, NY — On Saturday night, Sergey Kovalev wanted to show the world that “The Krusher” was back. I’m not sure he ever left.
They say knockouts cause amnesia. I believe it because prior to his controversial knockout loss to Andre Ward, most observers thought he beat Ward in their first encounter. You remember that fight, right folks?
If there was any doubt about how Kovalev would respond, he didn’t take long to answer as he dropped Vyacheslav Shabranskyy twice in the first round. With a little over a minute left, a looping right hand glanced Shabranskyy and took his equilibrium away from the start. Shabranskyy got up and Kovalev started boxing again. A jab to the body, a jab up top as Shabranskyy walked in, a left uppercut missed, a jab and hard right scored, and them BOOM! A left-right-left-right-left-left-right put Shabranskyy down hard. Shabranskyy got up and the round ended.
In the second, Kovalev landed a hard double left jab to back Shabranskyy up. A short time later, a left-right-right landed and dropped Shabranskyy again. He got up again.
Kovalev attacked again with two hard right hands to the body. A jab wobbled Shabranskyy and put him on skates as Kovalev began to tee off. His legs were gone and referee Harvey Dock, maybe a bit too late, jumped in to stop it.
Kovalev improves to 31-2-1, 27 KOs. Shabranskyy drops to 19-2, 16 KOs.
After the fight Kovalev said, “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, I love to make great fights. This makes boxing interesting. We can make good fights for boxing fans, and make boxing history. Let’s find out who is the best. Chickenson is on my list. This is very good for boxing. Let’s do it.”
In another of three televised fights, Sullivan Barrera won a unanimous decision in a slugfest with Felix Valera. The fight was filled with knockdowns, point deductions, low blows, and head clashes.
Valera dropped Sully B hard with a left hook in the first. Barrera got up and landed a shot at the end of the first to drop Valera.
In the second, after some great exchanges, a head butt busted open Barrera’s left eye. A hard left hook by Valera to the groin caused a stoppage in action. Referee Michael Ortega warned Valera he’d take a point. Valera began to do his best Ray Leonard-Ricardo Mayorga imitation trying to show Barrera up. Barrera took the bait and began to throw wild shots to try to take him out.
In the third another low blow caused Ortega to keep his promise and deduct a point from Valera.
In the sixth round, another point was taken from Valera for a low blow.
In the ninth round, Barrera landed a low blow of his own which caused Ortega to deduct a point.
In the end, Barrera won by the scores of 98-88, 97-90, and 97-89. He is in line for a shot at Dmitry Bivol, (12-0, 10 KOs), the WBA World light heavyweight champion. With the win, Barrera moves to 21-1, with 14 KOs. Valera drops to 15-2, 13 KOs.
According to Barrera, “It was a tough, awkward fight. I have beaten two of the three light heavyweights shown on HBO. I’m just waiting to finally get the opportunity I deserve.”
In the other televised bout, Yuriorkis Gamboa got an early Christmas gift from judges Robin Taylor (94-94), John McKaie (95-92), and Don Trella (96-92 and 114-114 Golovkin vs. Alvarez, including scoring 7th for Alvarez).
TheFightJournal.com scored it for Sosa with a 96-92 score.
This was a 10 round fight and Gamboa lost points by suffering a knockdown in the seventh and having a point deducted by holding (final round). Yet somehow two judges saw Sosa only winning two rounds.
Don Trella needs to be investigated, but the names Jason and Sosa don’t command big enough attention to address the matter.
While I think Gamboa won three or four rounds, if you take two points away from him and STILL say he won six rounds, I’d say we have a problem.
The real problem is this is boxing and it’s been a 60 year old problem that ain’t going to get solved in 2017 or 2018 for that matter.
Afterwards Yuriorkis Gamboa said, “I’m sorry I didn’t give you a better match, I only had three weeks to prepare.”
“I didn’t have enough time to train. I only had three weeks. I didn’t have time to get ready.”
“I needed two or three more weeks to lose the weight correctly.”
“Of course the decision was good. I think I won every round, except for the knockdown and the point deduction.”
To Sosa he said, “You gave a great fight, you have a great heart.”
Jason Sosa commented, “That’s boxing. It was a fun fight. I took some breaks, but I thought I did enough to win.”
Listen in as we recap Saturday’s HBO card featuring Sergey “KRUSHER” Kovalev vs. Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
Also on the card was a controversial decision in a fight between Camden, New Jersey’s Jason Sosa and Yuriorkis Gamboa.
The third fight of the televised portion was a light heavyweight contest between Sullivan Barrera and Felix Valera.
Check it out:
Check out today’s weigh-in video below:
New York, NY: On Saturday night, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) will look to regain the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title from The Theater at Madison Square Garden live on HBO World Championship Boxing against Vyacheslav “Lion Heart-Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs). The scouting report for this much-anticipated battle is below:
|Category||Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev||Vyacheslav “Lion Heart” Shabranskyy|
|Record||30-2-1 (26 KOs)||19-1-0 (16 KOs)|
|Strength||The Krusher has knockout power in both hands and can end a fight with any punch he throws. He has a sharp jab that has been effective in keeping his opponents at bay and has plenty of big-fight experience coming into this bout.||Shabranskyy is one of the division’s toughest fighters. He has an aggressive style with heavy hands and a granite chin. He applies steady pressure throughout the fight and does a superb job of breaking down his opposition.|
|Weakness||He tends to leave openings in his guard, which could be costly considering the power of his opponent.||His aggressive style can get sloppy at times, which has resulted in him hitting the canvas in prior bouts. He will need to fine-tune his defense to avoid a shot from one of the division’s biggest punchers.|
|Experience||Sergey has more professional bouts under his belt and has faced-off with the best in the sport. His previous 11 bouts have been world title fights.||Slava lacks the top-level opposition that Kovalev has faced; this will be the biggest fight of his career thus far.
|Power||Kovalev is called the Krusher for a reason. His main strength throughout his career has been his power. He throws each punch with bad intentions and can finish the fight in an instant.||Shabranskyy is extremely heavy-handed. He has remarkable power in both hands and possesses a straight right hand that can end any fight if landed clean.|
|Speed||Sergey has average speed that picks up once he smells blood and goes for the finish.||Slava has average speed and really turns it up a notch when he senses that his opponent is in trouble.|
|Endurance||Sergey has proven in recent years that he can go a full twelve rounds, but we’ve also seen him lose steam in later rounds.||Shabranskyy’s endurance has yet to be tested. He has gone 10 rounds just once in his career, which resulted in a decision win over former ranked contender Yunieski Gonzalez.|
|Accuracy||He has a pin-point accurate jab and delivers rigorous shots to the body that have ended fights in the past.||Slava’s most accurate punch is his right hand. If timed correctly, it can be a game-changer in the fight.|
|Defense||Sergey’s best defense is his offense. His power has always been a game-changer in bouts. It forces opponents to rethink their game plan.||The Ukrainian relies on offense more than anything. He likes to attack his opponents and break their will from start to finish.|
|Chin||Although he was stopped in his previous bout under questionable circumstances, Kovalev has proven throughout his career that his chin is more than durable.||Vyacheslav was stopped in his lone career defeat, however, he has proven that his chin is durable. He has been knocked down in numerous fights and made it back to his feet to take the win.|
|Style||Sergey is an offense-minded fighter who likes to walk his opponents down until he smells blood and can go for the finish.||Shabranskyy is an aggressive, in-your-face fighter who wastes little time in trying to break his opponents down and finish the fight.|
|Crowd Support||The Krusher should have the advantage; he spent over three years as the champion at 175 lbs. and has a crowd-pleasing style of fighting.||The Ukrainian may not have the crowd support that his opponent will have, but his aggressive style will undoubtedly earn him some new fans by the end of the fight.|
|Intangibles||Since suffering his only two career defeats in his pro career, The Krusher wants to get right back in the ring and get back one of his titles. Kovalev has been through the gauntlet in the light heavyweight division – he has faced nothing but the best throughout his career. He does not plan to break that trend anytime soon.||There was no title on the line when Shabranskyy originally accepted this fight. The Ukrainian is willing to take any fight to climb the ladder in this stacked division. He will attempt to impose his will and fight fire with fire when facing an opponent whose style is almost identical to his own.|
|The Match-Up||1. Will Sergey be mentally prepared for this fight?
2. Will Shabranskyy be able to handle Sergey’s power?
3. Will Sergey get back to being the Krusher?
4. Will Shabranskyy be able to shine under the big lights?
According to Main Events’ matchmaker and 2015 NABF Matchmaker of the Year, Jolene Mizzone, “This is the type of fight every fight fan should want to see because both fighters can punch! After going through over 10 different potential opponents who turned down a fight with Kovalev, I give Shabranskyy credit for taking less than one day to accept the fight. Kudos to both guys for accepting this fight. Sergey, who is coming off two losses, was still ready to fight anyone. Shabranskyy accepted this opportunity before it was sanctioned for the vacant title, when no one else was willing to get in the ring with The Krusher.” Continue reading
Sergey Kovalev vs. Vyacheslav Shabranskyy Final Press Conference Recap
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events:
It’s Thanksgiving week in New York City. It’s a time for people to consider what they are thankful for; to count their blessings. I can speak for everyone at Main Events and say how thankful we are to have the opportunity to put on a show for boxing fans at the greatest venue for boxing in the United States, Madison Square Garden. We’re thankful we can offer these talented, dedicated athletes the chance to reach for their goals and better their lives through boxing. Tickets starting at $50 are still available through Ticketmaster and the Madison Square Garden box office for Saturday’s event or you can watch live on HBO World Championship Boxing® starting at 10 p.m. Eastern and Pacific Time.
Our card features two bouts in the competitive light heavyweight division: Sullivan Barrera vs. Felix Valera and our main event, the Next Chapter in Sergey Kovalev’s career, the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title fight against Vyacheslav “Lion Heart-Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy.
The opening bout of the HBO telecast brings together two action-oriented junior lightweights, Jason Sosa and Yuriorkis Gamboa, in a must win 10-round fight. On our off TV undercard, we have three talented and undefeated Eastern European fighters out of the famed Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard, California with Bakhram Murtazaliev, who is co-promoted by Main Events and Krusher Promotions, facing Carlos Galvan in a ten-round super welterweight bout, a battle of the unbeaten between middleweights Meiirim Nursultanov and Eric Moon and Enriko Gogokhia versus Jose Antonio Abreu in a welterweight showdown.
And, a little treat for all the New York fans, we have three born-and-bred local fighters getting the chance to perform in front of their friends and family on Thanksgiving weekend. They include Brooklyn’s Frank Galarza making his Madison Square Garden debut against Jaime Herrera, Long Island-native LeShawn “Lightning” Rodriguez, who has promised to put on his own Winter Spectacular versus Alex Duarte and, making his pro debut, Ismael Villarreal, from the Bronx, will face Race Sawyer.
We are thankful to our sponsors Medoff Vodka and Leon.RU. We are thankful for all our partners in this card; working with so many good people proves you cannot succeed alone. I want to thank Golden Boy Promotions, Shuan Boxing Promotions, Peltz Promotions and Krusher Promotions for a wonderful working relationship making this event possible. I want to thank HBO, especially Peter Nelson and Tony Walker, for their unwavering support. We will not let you down. As always, we thank you for the opportunity.
Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President – HBO Sports:
I want to thank all the press for being here. It’s a great privilege to be associated with such a great event and to see you all turn out here before a holiday. I want to thank, first and foremost, everyone at Main Events, constant professionals. We always know we can rely on Main Events to, not only deliver us a great show, but also on the undercard, off HBO, Kathy is giving us a glimpse into the future. The fighters she just named are all apart of budding generation you will be seeing on HBO in the coming years. I would also like to thank the different parties working together in order to make this event happen, obviously Krusher Promotions as well as Golden Boy Promotions. I want to thank everyone on team Barrera as well as team Valera, in addition to Russell Peltz. This guy gives the best talks in all of boxing and he is just sitting there right now. I don’t understand what we are doing here. Every time he gets up here he schools everybody. You never want to talk after Russell Peltz.
I want to thank everyone who is really committed to making the best fights in boxing and constantly working together in order to do that. It is important to work with people who want to put the fights together that the fighters want. They have to be willing to work with anybody, anywhere and the fighters we want on the network are the ones who want to fight anyone, anytime and anywhere. As I can attest with all these fighters up here, I have never had that problem with any of them. They have never turned down a fight. Those are the kind of fighters people want to watch. Those are the kind of fighters that make the fights people want to see. And those are the kind of fights that lead to bigger and better things for each of the fighters involved. Our start time is 10 p.m. and we have a triple header.
We have all action fights on HBO. In the super featherweight division with Jason Sosa and [Yuriorkis] Gamboa are going to compete in order to see what the big next step is to come in their career. The light heavyweight division, as Kathy said, is a stacked division. Two great fights there. Maybe we see the winners meet up down the road. We see some others fighters who are in great position to try and take dominance over an open division right now and have a world title fight like Sergey vs. Shabranskyy. If you aren’t going to be at home or watching it on television, set your DVR. Hopefully you will be at the arena on Saturday night. We look forward to seeing you all. Thanks very much.
Joel Fisher, Executive Vice President – Madison Square Garden:
I really want to welcome everybody here to this final press conference at MSG. This is really an exciting time at The Garden as we get ready to host three consecutive weekends of great fights. We haven’t done that since the 1960s. The two guys that are fighting this weekend will follow in the footsteps of all the great boxers and fighters that fought in the MSG ring. Sergey is really one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and we know that he is ready to start the next chapter of his brilliant career. We are thrilled to host the light heavyweight world championship fight between Sergey and Vyacheslav. It will be another night in a long history of great fights at The Garden. As all you know The Theater is actually a tremendous place to host a fight and view one. We are sure all the loyal fans will come out. It’s just going to be a great atmosphere on fight night with top quality boxing at The Garden. Those two things are synonymous. The Garden has been in the boxing business for over 130 years. This will just add to the rich history of all the MSG fighters: Sugar Ray Robinson, Ali, Joe Frazier and the list goes on and one. As I said this kicks off three fights in a row. Three weekends in a row so it really is an exciting time for us. I really want to thank Kathy, Peter, their staffs from myself, Sal Federico and my staff. It’s just been great to work together with everybody. I want to take this time to wish everybody a Happy Thanksgiving. As Kathy said its Thanksgiving weekend and for everybody to come out is great. Hopefully everyone has a great Thanksgiving, a great holiday and end it with a great night of boxing here at MSG. I look forward to seeing everyone and have a great holiday.
Finally, to the media present and watching live, thank you for your time and attention. I promise you, in the months and years to come, you’ll remember you were here to witness The Next Chapter in Sergey Kovalev’s career.
We have an exciting undercard – this is a full Thanksgiving meal with plenty on the table. Opening our bout on the HBO card is former unified featherweight champion Yuriorkis Gamboa (27-2, 17 KOs) stepping in to fight former WBA World Super Featherweight Champion, Jason Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KOs) in a ten-round super featherweight fight. Gamboa is a native of Guantanamo, Cuba, an Olympic gold medalist. This is a fight he wanted. Sosa is one of our many local fighters on the undercard, from Camden, New Jersey. These guys both want to start the next chapter of their careers on a winning note.
Russell Peltz, President – Peltz Boxing:
When they get to this part of the press conference, they start with the main event. Teddy Brenner was the greatest matchmaker in the history of boxing. For those of you who don’t know who he was, he was the matchmaker here at MSG from the late 50s to the late 70s before that he ran what they call the House of Upsets in the Eastern Parkway of Brooklyn where about a third of the 200 main events he made became rematches in The Garden. No one will ever surpass Teddy because Teddy promoted fights, he did not promote fighters. He had three criteria for what made a good fight: 1. Do the styles mesh? Gamboa and Sosa are each 5’6. They each try to hurt people. 2. Does the fight lead somewhere? The winner has been promised a shot at a world title. 3. The most important is, would I buy a ticket to see this fight? Absolutely. That’s why I think it’s the most compelling, the most intriguing, the most interesting fight on this card. Gamboa cannot afford a loss. People say he is washed up. He is 25-2. I don’t know how washed up you can be at 25-2. We expect to see the best Gamboa there has been. The one I have ran into here a few years ago when he knocked out a fighter I had Rogers Mtagwa. Jason Sosa is coming off a defeat to Lomachenko and I was in the dressing room with him after that fight. It was a tearful scene. Peter Nelson from HBO came in and said, ‘I promise I won’t forget what you did for us this night. You stepped in when no one else wanted to fight Lomachenko at that time for any reasonable amount of money.’ Jason took the challenge and everybody said it’s the end of his career and here we are back again. Peter made good on his promise and we are one fight away from fighting for the world title. We would love to fight any of the guys that are fighting on the HBO show on December 9th.When Robert Diaz or Eric Gomez or Peter Nelson call me I don’t even say hello. I say will take it because that’s what fighters do; they fight. I’m really looking forward to this thank you.
Jason Sosa, former WBA Super Featherweight World Champion:
First I don’t really have a lot to say because tomorrow is Thanksgiving and we are not gonna have the privilege to eat at least four or five plates. I would just like to give thanks. Thanks to the media. Thanks to Peter Nelson and Main Events. I am thankful for my family, my two kids and my mom. And I’m thankful for the opportunity to, once again, showcase my talent on HBO. Continue reading
November 21, 2017
For Immediate Release
New York, NY: This Saturday’s Kovalev-Shabranskyy HBO World Championship Boxing® telecast will include a battle between two of the light heavyweight division’s biggest punchers when Sullivan Barrera and Felix Valera square off at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Below is the scouting report for this exciting match-up:
|Category||Sullivan Barrera||Felix Valera|
|Record||20-1 (14 KOs)||15-1 (13 KOs)|
|Strength||Barrera has solid endurance and a granite chin. He has a strong jab that he uses well and has shown great patience in breaking his opponents down.||Valera is a crafty southpaw who has one-punch knockout power in both hands. He moves around well and does his best to utilize the whole ring to his advantage.|
|Weakness||Sullivan is known to get somewhat wild, he needs to keep it together and stay sharp in order to avoid one of his opponent’s thundering blows.||Felix gets careless at times. He likes to drop his guard and taunt his opposition. Barrera is a sharp fighter who can capitalize on this if Felix is not careful.|
|Experience||He is an experienced fighter who has been in with some of the best fighters in the division: Andre Ward, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, Karo Murat and Joe Smith Jr. Barrera He came back from a first-round knockdown in his last fight against Smith Jr. to secure a unanimous decision victory. His ability to overcome adversity has made him a stronger fighter.||Although, he has not faced the same level of opposition as Barrera, Valera is still a former world champion. He managed to accomplish a lot in his career despite only being 16 pro fights deep. He earned the WBA Interim Light Heavyweight World Championship against Stanislav Kashtanov in Russia before losing it to current titleholder Dmitry Bivol.|
|Power||Sullivan has a powerful jab and a devastating right hand that has been very influential in a majority of his stoppage wins.||Valera delivers thunderous blows to his opponents. He relies heavily on his power, which has been a very successful strategy thus far.|
|Speed||Sullivan has average speed and maintains a steady pace throughout the fight. He understands when to turn it up a notch if he feels he can finish his opponent.||Valera uses many different gears in hopes of throwing his opponents of off their game.|
|Endurance||Barrera proved he could go 12 rounds when he came up short in a decision loss to former titleholder Andre Ward. He also earned a 10-round decision win over ranked contender Joe Smith Jr. in his most recent bout.||After starting his career with 11 knockout wins, all occurring in the first and second rounds, Valera proved that he is durable when he captured the WBA title in a 12-round decision win over Stanislav Kashtanov.|
|Accuracy||Sullivan’s is on point when he gets his jab going and puts his punches together behind the jab.||Felix does not utilize his jab as well as his opponent.|
|Defense||If he commits to the jab, then Barrera can be very effective in taking his opponents out of their element, making it that much more difficult to get anything going offensively.||Although he relies heavily on his power, Valera is a very effective defensively. He is very agile in the ring and is a sharp counter puncher.|
|Chin||Sullivan has a granite chin. He has been knocked down in prior bouts, but has risen to the occasion to finish strong.||Valera has a solid chin. He was the first opponent to overcome knockdowns and go the distance with knockout artist and current titleholder Dmitry Bivol.|
|Style||Sullivan is a technical fighter that likes to stick his jab and set up his shots. He also has a brawling style that inevitably comes out when his opponents show that they are willing to engage.||Valera is a knockout artist and a crafty southpaw who relies heavily on his power. He also likes to taunt his opponents, hoping to catch them off-guard and deliver one of his many thunderous blows.|
|Intangibles||Barrera has taken on some of the division’s best fighters in recent years. He has been extremely vocal about his desire to fight the best in the world on his way to a title shot. There are very few light heavyweights riding the same momentum and, after taking out two of the biggest punchers in the division in Joe Smith Jr and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, he will risk his ranking against another heavy-hitter in Felix Valera. A win over Valera can almost guarantee Sullivan his long-awaited shot at the world championship.||In just 16 professional bouts, Felix Valera has already made a name for himself in the light heavyweight division. He earned the WBA world title in his 13th pro bout and although he lost the title in his next fight, he lasted 12rounds against one of the biggest punchers in the sport, Dmitry Bivol. Since then, Valera has gotten back to his winning ways and is aiming to seize an opportunity by taking out one of the hottest fighters at 175 lb in Sullivan Barrera. A win over Barrera will catapult him into the top of the ratings.|
|The Match-Up||1. Will Barrera be looking past Valera to future fights?
2. Is Valera in over his head with an active Barrera?
3. Will Barrera be able to handle the power of Valera?
4. Will Valera be mentally prepared for his first fight on US soil on such a big stage?
According Main Events’ matchmaker and 2015 NABF Matchmaker of the Year, Jolene Mizzone, “This is a fight in a very hot division. This is fight, like the main event, is must see! Both guys can punch, which means fans should not miss a minute or it could all be over. These two fighters want to prove they belong in the mix with all the champions and future champions in this division. This fight is not about whose zero will go, it is about who will prove they deserve a title shot next!”
Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight World Title promoted by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Madoff Vodka and Leon.ru. Barrera vs. Valera is a 10-round light heavyweight fight promoted by Main Events in Association with Shuan Boxing Promotions. Gamboa vs. Sosa is a 10-round super featherweight fight promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Peltz Boxing and ZR Entertainment. The event will take place at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Watch Live: http://www.facebook.com/MainEventsBoxing
Listen in to the conference call between Sergey Kovalev and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
Their 12-round bout will be for the vacant WBO World light heavyweight title.
Main Events is the lead promoter and facilitator of the call.
Check it out:
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events: Welcome everyone to the Kovalev-Shabranskyy International Media Conference Call. Thank you to all the media who have dialed in to this call today to discuss the upcoming fight for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight Title. This tasty Thanksgiving weekend boxing event is sure to thrill fans and will air on HBO World Championship Boxing® live from The Theater at Madison Square Garden on Sat., Nov. 25 at 10:00 PM Eastern and Pacific Time. The fight is presented by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions. Tickets range from $50 to $350 and are available online at ticketmaster.com, the Madison Square Garden box office or Main Events’ Office by calling 973-200-7050 or emailing email@example.com.
Sergey Kovalev, former unified light heavyweight world champion: Yes, I’m really good. My training camp is going really good, like always, and I’m happy to work right now with my new coach Arbor Tursunpulatov. He’s doing a great job and we understand each other because we speak and understand one language. We understand each other and I feel comfortable.
Question: Sergey, can you describe what it was like for you to put the losses to Andre Ward behind you? This is like a new beginning for your career. Can you talk about that?
SK: All life is like a lesson for me. After my last three fights, some felt that I should get more physically into my work life with my boxing again. But right now, I feel all bad things are gone from my mind. Right now I concentrate, and I focus for the future of my boxing career. I’m ready to be again a world champion and collect my belts if somebody will be ready to unify the title.
Question: Sergey, when this fight was made with Shabranskyy you did not know it was going to be for the title. Andre Ward hadn’t retired, I don’t believe, when this fight was put together and you were going to go in and fight him to get back in action, score a win and get back on track. Can you tell me what it was like for you, as far as how excited you were that when you found out that it was going to be for one of the titles that Andre vacated when he retired? That you’d have a chance to regain one of your belts in your first fight coming off of a defeat?
SK: My next fight without the belt was going to be discouraging, because I must come back.(It) should be very exciting. I’m really excited and ready to get my belts back. It would be really interesting and really exciting, and I would fight anybody.
I was ready to fight Sullivan Barrera, but he didn’t approve the fight and we got Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. And, after this, Andre Ward vacated the title; it’s additional motivation. It’s like the most important (in) how my future boxing career is going to be. I’m really happy that this fight will be for the title and for the WBO, because this was the first title that I had already., But now this is like a new chapter in my boxing career. I am recharged. I am much stronger than last three fights and you will see November 25 in New York.
Question: Kathy, you’ve promoted a lot of fighters over the years. I just wanted your philosophy about what to do when you have a top-notch fighter, like Sergey Kovalev, and they have the situation where they lost a fight, lost maybe a second fight and your philosophy on how you go about bringing them back to prominence once again? What is your thought process when you meet with the fighter’s manager to put him back in a position to get him back on top?
KD: The first fight, I will say for the rest of my life, he didn’t lose. The second one, he was fighting the referee and the fighter, but he lost to the number one fighter in the world. That’s not coming back. You don’t fall too far when you’re that close with a guy who is that good. Ward has a style that is just very, very hard to beat, especially when he’s getting help.
My feeling about this is that Sergey is must-see TV. Sergey is still one of the most compelling, exciting fighters in the world. Having lost a debatable decision or a debatable stoppage shouldn’t really derail somebody’s career all that much. And as things turned out, Sergey is in a position right now to, not only be right back on top, but to be right back on top of one of the most exciting and perhaps the deepest division in boxing.
In my mind, you know, you hit the reset button. That’s what we did here. Sergey started out from absolutely nothing and in a few short years made it all the way to the top of the sport. I don’t know why everybody thinks he can’t do it again. He doesn’t have far to climb this time and it’s very nice the way the thing is starting to play itself out. You have exciting young fighters winning world titles in the division now. He’s going literally back to where we began with the WBO. He wins that belt first and I’ve already been hearing that some of the other champions want to fight him.
We’ve got some terrific fights to look forward to. I think, let’s put it behind us and move on. These are going to be exciting fights. This is an exciting division. I commend Sergey for reaching for that brass ring and fighting someone he really didn’t have to fight to try to grab that mantle of greatness. I think he got it, in essence, because he did it.
In this day and age, there are very few fighters who are going to go win a world title, put their titles on the line against absolutely everyone, one right after another and come right back and start doing it again. To me, this is a little interruption and we’re just moving forward now.
Question: Do you think all this leads, Kathy, to Sergey fighting the eventual winner of Bivol and Barrera?
KD: Of course. If he wants to win his belt back, he’s going to have to do that. If the Bivol-Barrera fight gets done. We’ve had talks. It is certainly makeable, but it is by no means a foregone conclusion at this point.
Question: Sergey, from a tactical standpoint, there were some things that were mentioned during the Ward fight, and I know you’re saying that you want to move on and you guys have hit the reset button. I agree, you don’t fall far off of the map or the ladder when you take a loss to another world champion. But just from a tactical standpoint, what are some of the things that you took away from the two fights with Ward that you may or may not have seen as things that you could work on moving forward now that you’ve hit the reset button?