Sergey Kovalev resumes his quest to regain his lost world titles this weekend at Madison Square Garden where he will fight Vyacheslav “Lion Heart”Shabranskyy for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight title.
With a record of 30-2-1 (26 KO’s), the 34 year old Kovalev has made some changes to his team and approach to his career, according to his manager Egis Klimas.
“I’m very honored to represent a different, a completely different Sergey Kovalev than what I knew in 2009″ his manager Egis Klimas said this week at Wednesday’s final press conference. “In the beginning of his career, he was very patient and we walked very long road to get into the position. After he became a champion, he started doing things a champion isn’t supposed to do. He didn’t pay much attention about his training; he was always on his own. He was trying to tell trainers and everybody what to do, how to do. After every fight, he used to go back home to Russia, spending, two or three months there until he’s going to get a next fight. Finally he got that last call, which reached his mind. I was trying to give some advice during his career but he didn’t pay much attention. He just walked on the other side and did what he’s supposed to do. Usually we can’t give to a grown man advice; he’s not going to take it seriously until it reaches into his mind. He got that bell. Somebody told him, ‘you’ve got to stop it. You’ve got to go a different road if you want to go somewhere in this life.’ I’m very happy, I’m really happy to represent a different Sergey Kovalev.”
“Feeling robbed of two consecutive title fights to Andre Ward, Kovalev split with his long-time trainer John David Jackson and has new inspiration following the sudden and surprising retirement by Ward, to reclaim his status at the top of the light heavyweight division,” says the folks at MyTopSportsbooks.com
Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva has not lost any faith in “The Krusher” to once again reign supreme. “There is no reason to believe he can’t do it again,” Duva said this week. “I think it will be even more satisfying for us than the first time we saw it. We have heard from a lot of people who have talked to Sergey and watched him these past few weeks during training – including many of you. They have pulled us aside and told us how amazed they are at his change in appearance and his change in attitude. When Sergey defeated the great Bernard Hopkins, Bernard told Sergey right after the right he would be world champion as long as he wanted to be. He was right – Bernard is always right! I you don’t believe me, he’ll tell you! It turned out the only person who could really beat Sergey Kovalev was himself. Now that he has learned this lesson, he is ready to begin the next chapter. Everyone in the light heavyweight division should be very, very afraid of what a focused Sergey Kovalev can do.”
“The Lion Heart” Shabranskyy, (19-1, 16 KO’s) is eager to prove himself to the boxing world on one of the world’s grandest stages. “First I want to thank my promoter for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to fight the best. A fight in Madison Square Garden alone is a dream come true. I’m now fighting for the title, it’s an amazing feeling. I’m working really hard to be where I am now. I’m ready, let’s go!”
Kovalev knows this is a must-win fight for his career and a third straight loss would destroy his marketability and industry prestige. “I’ve reloaded and got a lot of new motivation in my head, mentally. From my last losses, I didn’t break. These losses didn’t break me mentally. It was a good experience for me,” Kovalev said this week. “I should follow my goals on a clear road without any wrong things, any baggage on my back. Right now, I want to thank Golden Boy Promotions for this fight and especially for Slava Shabranskyy. I respect this guy because he’s a real fighter. His nickname proves he’s a Lion, a Lion Heart, and we will show you on Saturday a great fight. Because on top of this will be the WBO title. From the WBO title, I began my first successful boxing career. I will repeat it and after this we can speak of my future boxing career. Thank you to everyone who came here. I love life, I love boxing.”
The light heavyweight division is stacked with an abundance of diverse talents and powerhouse fighters – Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, Badou Jack, Barrera, Adonis Stevenson, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Joe Smith Jr., Elieder Alvarez – standing in Kovalev’s path back to regaining supremacy.