Lomachenko, Beltran Q&A Transcript

TODD duBOEF: I would like to welcome everybody to our inaugural U.S.-based promotion that will be live on ESPN, this Saturday, at 10 p.m. ET. There is no other way to start off than with Vasyl Lomachenko. The event in itself, coming from Los Angeles [LA Live’s Microsoft Theater], having Vasyl be the debut fighter, and obviously to be discussing when somebody is pound-for-pound the best, the accolades are there and he has delivered time in and time out in his very short career. 

But for me to talk about how great somebody is, I have only been in the business 25 years, but I always talk to our esteemed matchmaker Bruce Trampler, and I say, “Bruce how great is he?” Vasyl, he is one of the only fighters where Bruce will say, “He is something very special.” So he couldn’t be special without his father who is an incredible influence on him, and also his mental trainer, the psychologist who helps him prepare mentally. To be a perfect athlete and have the perfect training he has a great team.

EGIS KLIMAS: We are very excited to speak about our upcoming fight on ESPN. We are going to be available to a much bigger audience and everyone is going to be able to see who Vasyl Lomachenko is and how great he is at what he does and looking forward very, very much and to thank Top Rank for taking us to this level of his career.

You just fought in April and now you are right back in there again and could fight again a third time this year – is this what you like?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: This is exactly what I wanted, and exactly what I needed at this point because right now I am at the peak of my career – my best years – and I need to be more active as possible. I need to be in the ring as much as possible.

As the manager, can you give me your perspective about that?

EGIS KLIMAS: If the fighter is only going in the ring two times a year everyone forgets about him. My point is a champion should fight at least three times a year and if possible, four. It depends how quick you can get, and of course we all know this is a business too. The problems come from the networks and there are a lot of questions to get to that point but of course we are very happy to be able to fight three times a year.

What are the goals that Vasyl has beyond this fight – is it more belts, moving up to higher divisions, or fighting specific fighters?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: The biggest thing for me is I want to fight top, top fighters in the weight class that I am now fighting in. That is my biggest goal. Then maybe it is different weight classes. I want to be in the history book of boxing – I want my name to be mentioned when people talk about the history of boxing. Most important for me is to fight the best – where the fight means something – fans want it – people want to see it. I want to be on top of the list.

Is a fight against Marriaga one that delivers for him?

EGIS KLIMAS: Vasyl is a fighter. He is not choosing opponents and he is not trying to avoid anybody or, lets put it this way, afraid to step in the ring against anybody. He is a guy that is always asking “let’s train – come on over, come on over.” Top Rank can tell you we were thinking we were going to be fighting Orlando Salido and Salido dragged his feet and then Marriaga came about at the last minute – we had a few weeks before the bout. So beggars cannot be choosers.

TODD duBOEF: when you reach the frequency of bouts in a year – you can’t always have the biggest fight, so if we accelerate the frequency and he becomes more aware to everybody out there, you’re right, you may just have a real solid tough guy, like a Marriaga, in front of you, then all the sudden you get to a bigger fight that comes along and things like that happen then a title unification may come along like another solid top- five contender, so we can’t be so selective all the time. We would like to hit two paths – one is to get the best matches for Vasyl and Egis, and two is to keep the frequency going. We don’t want his career to stop because the right match isn’t there.

What do you see as the big matches you can make?

TODD duBOEF: Obviously you have a Salido rematch if Vasyl is still interested in that. And if Salido is real about that. Rigondeaux is yapping his mouth pretty good and that would be two of the most highly heralded amateurs. Vasyl has basically cleaned out the division and he will fight anybody so if he wants to go up in weight there are fighters at 135 that he can fight. I think there are tons of opportunities for him. We obviously want to work with them and with Egis on his move of the weight class. There was talk that he may jump to 135 for this fight but he is comfortable staying at 130 right now and we just pick and choose who we go through.

Do you see a fight with Mikey Garcia, who stated last week he does not want stay-busy fights and wants to fight the best?

TODD duBOEF: I would like to interject here. I am tired with people filing you guys with a bunch of (BS) and telling you ‘we want to fight the greatest fight with the best fighters out there – we are available.’ That is complete nonsense. Mikey Garcia turned down Yuriorkis Gamboa. He turned down Gamboa which would have made him something so don’t tell me he is striving to fight the best out there. He then came and says ‘oh, I want to fight Manny Pacquiao’ after a two-year layoff, ‘I want to fight Terence Crawford, I want to fight Vasyl Lomachenko.’ That’s great, we are here. His (bleeping) trainer shows up to say ‘hey we want to talk about it’ and he goes out and then makes the Broner fight. Stop the nonsense. Stop it. These guys yap (BS) to you guys like they are these pristine people. They don’t go out there and make matches. Vasyl has never dodged anybody. Crawford has never dodged anybody. Nobody goes out there to fight everybody out there. I hate these guys that say ‘oh, the reason is why they wanted the big fights out there’ then they wouldn’t fight Gamboa. It’s nonsense.

EGIS KLIMAS: Mikey Garcia, Mikey Garcia, after the fight he said clearly ‘whoever is willing to fight on Showtime, I will fight you. He is over there choosing the network. I think we are in a different grade. I would love to fight Mikey Garcia. It would give a big name to Vasyl, but..

TODD duBOEF: I don’t even think it’s a big name (laughing)

You don’t think it’s a big name after that victory?

TODD duBOEF: After what victory? I saw the fight, believe it or not. I didn’t think it was an incredible performance. He outpointed Broner. I didn’t think it was a scintillating fight. I thought he won the fight clearly. I wasn’t thinking ‘Oh my God, the masses are clamoring to see him. I am being honest with you. I think he had a nice fight. He fought well. Broner wasn’t throwing a lot of punches and Mikey did a good job, but a big name? A big name is Mikey Garcia now? I don’t see that.

In all of the fighters around that weight class, you’ve got to admit Garcia is a bigger name than Rigondeaux…

EGIS KLIMAS: You mean bigger in the fight? (laughing)

It’s a bigger fight…

TODD duBOEF: Listen, if Mikey Garcia is interested in the fight, have his guys call us. We are in. Any time. I mean the guy leaves us then says the three fighters I want to fight are Pacquiao, Crawford and Lomachenko. Why would you leave? You went on strike for two years. I hate to call it how it is guys.

Do you view Mikey Garcia as a guy you want to fight?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: His trainer Robert Garcia, Robert Garcia mentioned that Mikey is a fighter A-Class. I hadn’t seen anything during that bout that showed me he was a Class-A outstanding fighter. Yes, he won the fight. Yes, he did everything to win the fight, what he needed to be, but I haven’t seen anything outstanding and I haven’t seen him being a A-Class fighter.

TODD duBOEF: Heeey, the promoter and the fighter think alike! Can you believe this? (laughing)

Who is the one guy you want if you are going to have a big fight by the end of the year?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: At this point it really doesn’t matter what I want. I was asked that question before the Jason Sosa bout came off. I told them, before this bout, after the Sosa bout again I was asked by reporters who I want to fight. I said it really doesn’t matter who I want – it is more like who is available. I am preparing for one big name, one big fight, and the fight like Sosa and this upcoming fight on Saturday – it is just like my training session for ONE BIG FIGHT, then the one big fight is going to bring up and you have my promoter on the line, and you can ask them, what are they trying to bring me in the ring. I am a boxer. I am not a picker. Whoever is in front of me I am going to be fighting this guy.

Do you think the Salido fight is still a possibility?

TODD duBOEF: I think a little bit of the perspective is that we really wanted to launch the ESPN thing with Lomachenko preferably in a rematch with Salido. We were getting representation that he was going to take a tune-up fight in May and then Lomachenko, but they kind of dragged this out then saying he had a hurt hand, he couldn’t make the weight. Listen, our business model is a little different than what our business model has been in the past when we had to wait on fighters to make fights to stay active. So what we did, we said listen, Vasyl is a commercially incredible fighter that we want the public to see. He is not going to be held up by an opponent or a situation. We are going to make him available so that millions of people can watch him on ESPN and can see his story and can see his brilliance and that’s why we pivoted to Marriaga. If Salido comes back and says ‘I am ready for the fight and I’m sorry about all of this stuff, I am healthy now, let’s go’ then I talk to Vasyl and Egis and we are all in. We are here to make good matches and to give the public what they want.

Since he will be available to millions more viewers how much of a bigger star can he become?

TODD duBOEF: I don’t want to make a judgment just on the fight. We are talking about and we can all analyze the two hour or two and a half hour block on ESPN or if it’s on FOX or CBS, HBO or Showtime. I think what everybody should take note of is all of the commotion leading up to the fight on the ESPN platforms. That is the shoulder programming that is driving awareness to it and that is going to be invaluable. I think not only is it going to drive the audience to the fight but also it is going to make Vasyl noticeable to the general sports fan and that’s what we are looking for. So tune in to ESPN all week and you are going to be seeing tons of promos, snippets and interviews, the weigh-ins are live and everything in a 360 perspective and following our sport like they used to. It’s not just about fight night.

What is your perspective on fighting Salido?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, I would like to fight Salido but probably within a one-year period. If it is longer than that I am not going to be interested in fighting him because that bout wouldn’t mean anything. But in general I would like to get back in the ring with him to see how much better I can be in the second bout.

What do you think about Marriaga?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: I did see his bout against Oscar Valdez and what can I tell about him? He is strong and his conditioning is good. He has skills so I think about, what everybody else thinks is going to be easy, I don’t think it is going to be easy for me.

Did you see the Berchelt-Miura fight a couple weeks ago and would you like to fight him?

VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, I really would like to fight Miguel Berchelt [WBC super featherweight champion] to unify the titles and I would like to have one more belt into my collection.

What do you think you can do to increase your star power?

TODD duBOEF: Vasyl has nine fights. This guy has nine fights. You tell me somebody after nine fights, or ten fights. He has a very limited number of fights and his appeal right now is very high for the limited number of bouts he has had. We believe by flipping the switch and doing the fights on ESPN and exposing him to the masses I think his star power is going to grow when people see him, when they see him train, when they see how he fights. But right now, with his limited number of fights – most guys are righting four-rounders off television, so I think he is doing damn well.

In closing…

VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, ii would like thank everybody for your attention and I would like to thank everybody for putting my name in all of your stories and I will see you all on August 5th and you guys are going to see another great show.

Ray Beltran – how is the Green Card progress?

STEVE FEDER: Sure, we were going to file right after the Jonathan Maicello fight in May [one-punch second knockout victory] but once we heard that Top Rank had made the deal with ESPN – the more press we have collected the better – and we had a great response after the last fight, we decided to hold off the application until after this fight. So in two weeks, after this fight is over, we are going to file. All of the press coverage we get for this fight will go in with the application.

How do you feel about getting another title shot?

RAY BELTRAN: Well, you know I think after all of the hard work I got respect which is very hard to get and it is very exciting for me and my team and we all feel great about it.

After your last title fight loss, did you think it was over or you could build your self back up again?

RAY BELTRAN: No, I didn’t feel that. The way I felt with my abilities I would be able to make it back for another title shot and it was just a matter of time.

TODD duBOEF: Ray did what he had to do and was explosive in doing that when the opportunities came up. When he fought underneath Crawford – sensational one-punch knockouts – in Omaha and in New York – and you want to know what? That’s telegenic. People want to see that. He didn’t just sleepwalk through the performance. He went out and made a statement, and you get bonus for that, and we thought bringing Ray back right away, sending him once again to a larger audience, hoping that he will be better and have a terrific performance on Saturday.

How do you feel about being on ESPN and how that may help you in getting a Green Card?

RAY BELTRAN: I feel great and it makes me think about those days when the Friday Night Fights were on ESPN and a lot of people and friends are gong to be able to see my fight and they are going to be able to see who I am and I can’t wait to be on ESPN. I am so happy to be part of Top Rank and this new project and my promoter gives me all of these new opportunities.

Thoughts on Bryan Vasquez?

RAY BELTRAN: He is a very tough opponent. I know he is going to fight. We both have different goals. He’s got a big opportunity to fight me and I have a big challenge in front of me. My focus is on the title and also on the Green Card situation, which is my big motivation to win the fight. He is a good fighter and I want to impress the people and I just can’t wait to get in the ring but I am very confident by the way it is going in the gym and my mind is 100% right now.

What is it like getting in the ring knowing you are fighting for the Green Card?

RAY BELTRAN: Let me tell you how I look at it – when you have doubt you are not going to make it. I have no doubt and I have motivation. I believe it is going to go good. I really believe in myself and I believe in my team. I just can’t wait to be in the ring and I am so excited to get in the ring and put on a good show for the fans. It is my time and my moment and I can’t wait.

When did you begin the process of trying to obtain the Green Card?

STEVE FEDER: As soon as this fight is over, since it is on ESPN and we wanted to take advantage of the media coverage, and within two weeks after this fight, we are going to file. We have been collecting all of the letters of support then we will file and that is the first part of the process and they will look at it then and tell you what the application looks like before the final submission and if it needs tweaking they will let us know – we pay a little extra for that – and from that point on it is about a four to six-month process. It could come sooner but that is typical.

How have you been in the USA for so long and not have your Green Card just yet?

RAY BELTRAN: When I crossed the border I was illegal for nine years then I asked if I could apply for my Visa since I had been here for 12 years and I felt the weight was off my shoulders because I had my Visa. Before that it was a lot of risk for me because if I got pulled over and he’s not having a good day he could call immigration and I would be in big trouble.

STEVE FEDER: As it is now, once Ray stops fighting, he cannot get a work Visa and he cannot stay – he would be here illegally and we need to get this accomplished before it gets to that. He is hoping that he fights one more time this year then he gets a shot at the world title – he will be a US citizen. His P-1 visa allows him to fight in the U.S.

What if he loses? Does he need victory to stay here?

STEVE FEDER: At this point, because we want to get into the mandatory position with either Linares or Garcia or Flanagan, this is a crucial fight that we are up against right now. Once this fight is over with, we have to file. At that point, obviously he has no intentions of losing, so we don’t even put that in our mindset, so Ray would have proven enough that he is at that elite status and at that point we would feel OK. The reason we didn’t do it after New York was because we wanted to have more press coverage on our side, so we knew it was worth waiting for.

Do the big fights he has had not count for the status he needs?

STEVE FEDER: It counts, but it would be equivalent to an actor winning an Academy Award or an Olympian winning the Gold Medal. It takes so much that once you apply you do not want to get rejected. The idea that he was a top fighter, yes that helps. He fought Crawford and that was a unanimous decision and it was at the No. 2 position. He is in a better spot now than he ever has been.

When he fought Crawford he was the mandatory…

STEVE FEDER: Yes, but he has had four knockouts in a row going into Saturday’s fight and he has a good run. Right now, this was the best time to do it. Right now he has been sitting at this No. 2 spot and he keeps moving up the rankings – that’s what they want to see – to see him maintain it. Just being there in that position wouldn’t be enough – what he is doing now is better which is maintaining that position over a period of time. It’s about Ray’s body of work — his career. In essence it’s about continuity and sustained activity at an elite level — rather than one specific fight.

So a year at #2 is better than 3 months at #1

STEVE FEDER: Exactly

RAY BELTRAN: Thank you for taking the time to pay attention to the Ray Beltran life story. I hope that all of my fans are there for the fight and they tune in on ESPN and I want to thank ESPN and all of the people that are involved in this event and I can’t wait to put on a great show and to be back on ESPN as soon as possible again.

TODD duBOEF: If you can’t be at the fights we hope you tune in on Saturday and make a note to tune into ESPN all week to see the promos that they are going to be doing – see the bumpers and see the countdown clock, see the snippets and see the stuff they are going to be bringing you guys and the general fans creating awareness to the fight on Saturday.

www.fightnews.com/lomachenko-beltran-qa-transscript/2141

Usyk Aims For The Goal of Unifying Cruiserweight Division

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By Thomas Gerbasi

When he’s not punching someone in the face, Oleksandr Usyk can usually be found with a smile on his face, a joke coming out of his mouth, magic tricks, or maybe even a song bellowing out to the world. In the process, it’s made the WBO cruiserweight champion pretty popular these days.

“I’m already popular?” he asks through manager / translator Egis Klimas. “I’m surprised.”

He shouldn’t be. In a division that has always had good fighters but often fell short in terms of crossover potential and charisma, the 30-year-old Ukrainian is bringing new life to the cruiserweights. But as far as he’s concerned, he’s just being himself.

“If I am smiling, if I am laughing, that’s a true laugh and a true smile,” he said. “If I need to be serious, I am serious because I have to be serious at that point. Since I was a kid, I always was happy, I always was joking. I like jokes, I like comedy movies, I like to talk to people, and I just want to be myself. If I’m going to go to the fight, I am serious and I put my mind into it. If I need to be aggressive, I’ll be aggressive. But the most important thing for me is to be myself.”

This Saturday, the American introduction of Usyk continues with an HBO-televised title defense against fellow unbeaten Michael Hunter at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland. In December, Usyk fought on U.S. shores for the first time as a pro, dispatching Thabiso Mchunu in nine rounds at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

It wasn’t a flawless performance like the kinds turned in from friend and fellow world champion and 2012 Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, but it was a fun fight to watch and one that made you want to see him again. This weekend, it’s time for him to build off that effort against another 2012 Olympian in Hunter.

On paper, it’s a marketable fight between two boxers with similar pro records, but Usyk’s 11-0 (10 KOs) looks a lot different than Hunter’s 12-0 (8 KOs) when it comes to quality of opposition. Then again, as Usyk points out, the past means nothing when they still have to fight on Saturday.

“Everybody has his own road and his own way,” he said. “He (Hunter) went that direction, I went this direction, and I can’t determine who had the harder or better amateur career. We will see on April 8th.”

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What does bear watching is if Usyk can continue to build his fan base here in the States, and with K2 Promotions and Klimas behind him, that’s a given if he keeps winning impressively. Of course, that doesn’t make the time away from his family back in Kiev any easier, but that is a price he’s willing to pay.

“I’m focusing on what I’m doing, and right now I’m focused on my fight on April 8th,” Usyk said. “If I’m going to be thinking about family or how hard it is to be here…this is my job. Everybody knows that I came here to do my job and that’s what I’m focused on. Of course, I think about my kids, I talk to them, and this is what gives me the motivation. I talk to my wife and my kids and I miss them, but I am here for the job. And as soon as it’s done, I’ll go back home and spend a lot of time with my family and we’re gonna laugh, joke and have a good time.”

First there’s work to be done, and with new trainer Russ Anber in the corner, Usyk is determined to dispatch Hunter and move on to the business everyone is asking him about, and that’s unifying the cruiserweight crown.

“I would like to unify the titles,” he said. “And if we can meet each other and find out who’s the best, who’s the real cruiserweight champion, that would be ideal.”

It also used to be a fairly easy task when there were three sanctioning bodies, but now with four “major” belts and some multiple titlists in particular organizations, Usyk can conceivably be looking at five fights to get through each belt holder. Add in promotional entanglements and the politics of making a unification fight, and it could be more trouble than it’s worth. But if it gets to that point, Usyk has no intention of dealing with such issues. He’ll simply accelerate his move to his final frontier – the heavyweight division.

“If it’s not gonna happen, it’s not gonna happen,” he said of cruiserweight unification. “I’m not going to be just waiting for someone to come here. I’ll move to the heavyweight division.”

Then the real fun begins.

www.boxingscene.com/usyk-aims-goal-unifying-cruiserweight-division–115305?print_friendly=1

Ward vs. Kovalev Rematch Talks Finally Underway – For June 17?

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By Igor Lazorin, tass

According to Egis Klimas, the manager of Sergey Kovalev, the negotiations are finally underway for a rematch with World Boxing Association (WBA), World Boxing Organization (WBO) and International Boxing Federation (IBF) light heavyweight world champion Andre Ward.

The two boxers collided last November at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ward got off the floor in the second round to win a twelve round unanimous decision. All three judges had it scored for the Olympic gold medal winner with identical tallies of 114-113.

There was a rematch clause in the bout agreement, which Kovalev quickly exercised to secure an immediate return bout.

As of last week, Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events was having a very difficult time with getting Roc Nation Sports, who promote Ward, to start negotiating the rematch.

“The negotiations have begun, but there is no concrete agreement,” Klimas said.

There were some issues with getting Ward to come back to the table, as he was threatening the possibility of retiring unless the scenario with the rematch made sense.

Duva had previously informed BoxingScene.com that HBO prefers a date of June 17 for the rematch.

Roc Nation has now placed the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on hold for June 17, but they have not revealed if the date is for the Ward-Kovalev rematch or Miguel Cotto’s rescheduled return. Cotto was set to return on HBO Pay-Per-View last Saturday, but his event got canceled after opponent James Kirkland withdrew with a fractured nose. Cotto is looking to rescheduled his return for a date in April or June.

Kovalev has a record of 30 wins (26 by knockout), one loss and one draw. And Ward has a perfect record of 31 victories (15 by knockout) and no defeats.

www.boxingscene.com/ward-vs-kovalev-rematch-talks-finally-underway-june-17–114031?print_friendly=1

Kovalev vs Ward: Sergey Kovalev Interview

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Kathy Duva: “Hello everyone, welcome. We are now, I can’t believe it, just a week and a half away from the most exciting, the most compelling and the most competitive fight of 2016, and probably the last two or three years while we’re at it. We are just beside ourselves here. We are exhausted because everyone has been working so hard, but it’s a great feeling. I can’t compliment the fighters enough for stepping up and making boxing what it’s supposed to be and what it used to be, a sport that involved people competing in fights where we didn’t know the outcome. This is a 50-50 fight and we’re starting to feel the buzz and excitement. I want to thank all of you for participating today and I hope to see you all in Las Vegas very soon.”

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev: “Hello everybody, I’m glad to be here.”

Egis Klimas: “I just want to say hello to everybody. I want to thank Sergey Kovalev for making this appearance for this fight and bringing us to this level. He’s the man and he’s the one who brought us here and he’s the reason we are all here on the line. I just want to thank Sergey and welcome everybody to this phone call. Thank you very much.”

John David Jackson: “I just want to thank everybody for being here and I want all of the fans to come out and watch this fight, it’s a great fight between two very good fighters. It’s definitely a fight for the fans to see, so thanks everybody for participating.”

Q: Do you consider Andre Ward to be the best fighter you’ve ever faced?

Sergey Kovalev: “We’ll find out on November 19. I don’t know, but I think so, yes.”

Q: Sometimes Andre Ward brawls, sometimes he boxes. What do you expect him to do in this fight and how are you prepared for his different strategy?

Sergey Kovalev: “I don’t have any different strategy, my strategy is just the one, any cost to get the victory over him. He’s right now in my way to my goals and to my dreams and I should to do my job and fight for my goals and for my dreams. I want to destroy him.”

Q: Have you done anything differently in training to prepare for Andre?

Sergey Kovalev: “Why should I do something different if what I did before gave me success? I followed my same training camp as usual and it should get me in great shape for November 19.”

Q: “Do you think this fight will get you first place in the pound for pound rankings?”

Sergey Kovalev: “I don’t think about what will be after the fight. I have focused my whole attention on this fight and Ward and what I should do inside the ring. We’ll see about this after the fight.”

Q: Do you expect this to be a wrestling fight or a war?

Sergey Kovalev: “Of course this fight is an opportunity for both of us to show the boxing world who is the best pound for pound. I’m sure he will be there to do everything he can to get the victory over me and it’s the same for me. It’s going to be a war between us. Who is the best boxer and who is the best athlete?”

Q: What do you think makes you the more mentally tough boxer in this fight?

Sergey Kovalev: “I think this is most important thing. For me this is a mental fight. It’s not who is stronger, but who is smarter and brings best skills into the ring and who is mentally stronger. If I happen to knock him out, it will be a bonus for boxing fans and for me myself.”

Kathy Duva: “I’ve seen Sergey demonstrate his mental toughness time and time again. He’s been through more adversity in his life than most fighters have ever even contemplated. I’m aware that Ward has faced adversity, but I never heard Sergey talk about how boxing is a sacrifice, where we frequently hear from Ward about how it is. Sergey’s attitude towards boxing has always been, oh wow, this is a great opportunity and I’m so happy I’m doing it. I know he has tough times and there’s days at the gym where he probably doesn’t feel that way. But his attitude has always been about loving his work, and loving what he’s doing. He can’t wait for the fight to start. He works hard because he wants to be the best. It’s not just his mental toughness, it’s his mental attitude, I think it’s very positive and I think that’s the thing that carries him. That and the chip on his shoulder that has been there forever of just wanting to prove that he’s the best. You take that combination of work ethic, and chip on his shoulder and focus like a laser, and then loving what he’s doing. Sometimes when he gets in the ring he looks like he’s about to have a steak, that’s kind of the look on his face. I think that’s part of what makes it so much fun to watch him.”

John David Jackson: “I agree with what Kathy Duva. It’s his upbringing. Growing up in Russia, the hard time that he’s been through I think that’s what makes him the more mentally tougher fighter. That and his desire to be champion and stay champion. He loves the lime light and the adulation that he gets, but I think he’s the mentally tougher fighter and the mentally stronger fighter.”

Q: Does that make it tougher or easier for you to work with him sometimes?

John David Jackson: “A little bit of both. Sergey knows what he wants to do and his plan is already set. I just work off what he wants to do. In the ring he knows what he wants to do as all fighters should know what they want to do. For me it could be hard sometimes when his mindset is set on one thing. But I make it a little bit easier because I allow him to do what he wants and work off what he wants to do and that makes him a better fighter.”

Q: Kovalev has been with you for four and a half years. Can you describe your thoughts from when you first saw him and nobody wanted to sign him to where you are now?

Kathy Duva: “From the moment I saw him in Bethlehem I immediately imagined him being the best fighter in the division. I thought it at that second. I remember Russell Peltz coming up to me saying who wouldn’t you put this guy in with and I couldn’t think of anyone. To be where we are now, in a position to become number one in the world, this is the dream. Main Events has worked with some tremendous fighters and we’ve had some really good runs, but for the most part those were guys that came with Olympic medals and nobody was really surprised when they succeeded. To take Sergey from the point where nobody in Russia knew who he was, where he has never been given a leg up by anybody, where nobody wanted to even look at him to take him where he is today, I have to say, and we at Main Events couldn’t do that with anybody, but when a person came along with the skill and the desire to do it, it was the perfect marriage for us. Sergey gets to show his abilities and talents and Main Events to have the ability to know exactly how to move him perfectly. This is kind of the opportunity that I have been waiting for for a very long time, to prove myself, to prove my staff, to prove my company that we were still there and we could do this and I think we gave Sergey the opportunity to prove what he can do. It was a beautiful thing and meant to be.”

Q: “Ward was expected to be here, he was a gold medalist from the United States, he had a big signing bonus. We hear Andre talk about the sacrifice of boxing whereas with Kovalev this is a great opportunity to box. Andre was expected to be here from day one, maybe Sergey expected it from himself, but it’s a surprise to everybody else, do you think there’s something to that?”

Kathy Duva: “I think there is and I think you make a good point. Even when it comes to the job of making this event work and promoting it, Sergey has taken the attitude from the start that this is my job, this is my opportunity and I’m not going to have any regrets when it’s over so I’m going to do everything I have to do. I think we worked really hard to manage that load for him so it doesn’t interfere with his training. In the brief time I’ve worked with Ward the attitude is different, it’s not hey I’m really happy you’re all paying attention to me, it’s ok we’ll make a list of what we’ll do. I think when it’s always come to you and there have been people standing around you with lights and cameras from the start there’s a natural tendency to kind recoil from it a little bit. Sergey is running towards the light here and I know sometimes it isn’t exciting or fun for him to do that and I know how hard he has worked and I appreciate it more than anything in the world, how hard he has worked to become that fan friendly star that people want to see and know and it shows. He has a very different attitude, for him this is not a chore, this is an opportunity.”

Q: When you were coming up at Don Turner’s camp in North Carolina coming up and Egis was bringing you around from fight to fight to different places and you had no idea if you ever be able to show your talents to a wider audience to the point where you are now. What were your own expectations? How did it go for you in your mind to go from where you were at with Don Turner and Egis pounding it around the country to this fight? Are you surprised at all that you’re here?

Sergey Kovalev: “I’m very surprised myself. When I was in the amateurs I never thought that someday I would turn pro at all. For me professional boxing was very crazy, I thought pro boxing was just beating the whole brain out of your head. It’s very dangerous. In amateurs it was enough with injuries and some hard fights. I felt like I would never be able to do twelve rounds. My wife pushed me to turn pro and one man Anatoliy, Egis’s friend, found me in Russia and he met with me in Moscow and we started to talk about professional boxing. I started to think about it, but it was a maybe. Finally, I made my decision after the 2008 Russian Championships when I won the final fight and the victory was given to my opponent. When I turned pro and came to North Carolina, I was disappointed really. I thought if I turned pro I would get to this level where I am right now. For three years we fought without any promoter, I fought with the support of Egis. Throughout everything he was my father, my brother, my guide, for me he was everything…”

Egis Klimas: (cuts in) “But not the girlfriend!”

Sergey Kovalev: “Not the girlfriend, of course. I can get help from Egis anytime and when I fought 15 or 16 fights, I thought I should go back to Russia and do something to get money another way. After 15 or 16 fights, I had no money, no promoter and not really any future in boxing. When I fought in Russia in 2011, I stayed in Russia for two, three months and I almost decided not to go to America because we didn’t have any plans. We didn’t have a promoter or any plans for the future. I would be back in Big Bear for a workout and I thought, why? Egis called me in Russia and said to me that one promoter, Main Events, Kathy Duva wants to give me opportunity to prove myself and I believed once again that maybe this is the chance, so I should try again. We fought Darnell Boone for the second time and after that I signed with Main Events and Kathy Duva.”

Q: Egis, you’re the one who had the vision, what was it that you saw in him at that time and is the end result right now beyond what you expected?

Egis Klimas: “I was inexperienced. I was the new kid on the block and Don Turner was my tutor, but I didn’t know much about what’s going on. Bringing Sergey to this point, we were in Kazakhstan and he did shadow boxing and Don Turner said Egis, where did you get this guy from? After that we went on a very long run. I used to call every single promoter, I used to try to put him on every single show. I used to try to show him to everybody who was around.”

Sergey Kovalev: “We were like kittens in this business. Like a kid being thrown into the water to learn to swim, we were just trying to get somewhere, to get to the shore. Kathy was the one who gave a hand to Sergey and said come here, come this way, swim this way.”

Egis Klimas: “If anybody is trying to bring me today manager of the year or to manage other fighters, it’s Sergey who brought me to that stage.”
Sergey Kovalev: “We brought each other, the three of us have helped each other and right now we all have success.”

Egis Klimas: “Exactly, he makes a very good point. Nobody knew who Egis Klimas is, nobody knew who Sergey Kovalev is, everybody knew Main Events but at that point Main Events didn’t exist, but now we have one big team and we are winners. And after November 19 we are going be winners, no question about it.”

Q: Andre Ward is known for his high boxing IQ; you’ve been saying you’re going to be the smarter fighter. Can you speak on how confident you are that you will be the smarter fighter when you guys meet?

Sergey Kovalev: “You will see on November 19. I am making a great training camp to kick his ass, this is my goal. A lot of people around the world will watch this fight and I understand this, and I’m going to prove who I am.”

Q: John David Jackson, can you speak on how Sergey is going to be the smarter fighter when he faces Ward?

John David Jackson: “A lot of so called experts and people in boxing say that Ward is a smarter fight. Listen, Ward is smart at what he does, but a lot of what he does is not fighting, it’s surviving and making his opponent frustrated with the tactics that he uses. Sergey on the other hand is a pure all around fighter. He can fight you if it comes down to it, but on the flip side to that Sergey is a very intelligent boxer and he knows how to fight. He doesn’t come into the ring trying to be a one punch knockout artists. If you watch Sergey’s fight, in his brilliance he looks to break down his opponents systematically. He does want a knockout, but he’s learned how to build up to the knockdown. He knows how to cut the ring off and break guys down to the body and if you want to fight with him and you’re looking for a shootout, you’re not going to win because his clip is fully loaded. Andre may be smart and very intelligent, but he’s fighting with half a clip. It’s like LL Cool J once said, you can’t fight an army with a handgun. Ward has a handgun and he’s a fighting against a tank, and the tank is smart, he knows how to fight and how to systematically beat him. For those that don’t know and realize how smart Sergey is in the ring, on November 19 they’re going to find out.”

Q: Have you guys been stressing having more patience in this fight because it is Ward and he’s a patient and crafty guy?

John David Jackson: “I think Sergey has figured that out by himself and we work off that. Ward is crafty and patient, but you can’t be that patient and crafty when you got a guy who has bombs in both hands. Sergey is going to break him down the way he has to. You don’t have time to dictate the pace of the fight and jab here and hold there. When you have a guy coming at you with power in both hands, he’s not going to have the time to be able to do all of the things that he wants to do. This fight here, he has to fight and if he’s not willing to fight he’s in trouble.”

Q: Who do you think has the physical advantage in this fight?

John David Jackson: “As an amateur Andre fought at 178 and he turned pro at 168, so he’s always been the bigger guy after he hydrated. But he can’t be the bully for this fight because he’s not the bigger fighter. Sergey is going to be the bigger fighter. As far as the advantage, it depends on how much he had to lose for this fight himself because he walks around pretty big himself. The seven-pound difference wasn’t a big deal to him because he was killing himself to make 168. I still say the advantage goes to Sergey, he’s the stronger fighter and in the ring it’s going to show. He’s more physical. How much more? We’ll find out that night, but I still give the advantage to Sergey.”

Q: You have a great right hand, are you expecting Andre to be turning southpaw the night of the fight? Do you think he’ll be doing that a lot?

Sergey Kovalev: “Yes, I think he will be changing his positions during the whole fight because in some moments he will be feeling uncomfortable after my punches.”

Q: It seems like he switches southpaw when he has his opponents frustrated. What do you think about that?

Sergey Kovalev: “I know one thing; I will be ready for anything he has to offer in the ring. I understand this and my goal right now is to be ready for everything that he will offer.”

John David Jackson: “Ward may turn southpaw, but when he does get hit by Sergey I think he’ll go to southpaw less and less and get back to his comfort zone which is the right handed stance. If you look at Sergey’s career, he does very well against southpaws so Ward can turn southpaw if he wants to.”

Q: Kathy what fight would you compare this one to from a historical perspective?

Kathy Duva: “I guess the easiest comparison would be to the first time two undefeated fighters fought for pound for pound supremacy and that was Meldrick Taylor versus Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. Main Events promoted Meldrick Taylor so we have been here before. We have also been involved in major fights with people like Evander Holyfield, Lennox Lewis, Arturo Gatti and Pernell Whitaker and on and on and on. But I have to say this is the first time we’ve taken a guy that didn’t come out with an Olympic medal or the heralded amateur career, because Sergey did indeed have an amateur career where he clearly learned a lot, it’s the first time we’ve taken someone who nobody expected to this level of achievement and for that one we’re really proud and really happy. It’s a different kind of excitement for us, it’s a lot more fun when nobody expects you to do it.”

Sergey Kovalev: “Everybody in the world wants to see somebody who kicks my ass, but it’s not happening.”

Q: That depends on who you ask; a lot of people want to see you kick his ass.

Sergey Kovalev: “Believe me, there’s a lot of haters. It’s new motivation for me, I really like to disappoint these people.”

Q: John, what was the game plan for the Bernard Hopkins fight and why did it work?

John David Jackson: “First of all, Bernard is an old fighter. Even though he sayshe’s an Alien and the Executioner and all that, the bottom line is he’s an old fighter, so you have to treat him like an old fighter. You have to do things that take him out of his comfort zone. You have to make him work. Sergey was able to use his jab to offset Bernard’s trickery, Bernard is very well-schooled and he’s a student of the game. He was just older and unable to do what he once did.”

Q: If Sergey beats Ward do you think he will get full credit for the victory?

Kathy Duva: “As Sergey points out, haters gonna hate. If you look at the picks the reporters are making and the betting line is favoring Ward a little bit, which is awesome because it’s always better when you’re the underdog and, as we’ve been saying on this call, not having it be expected. But Ward, the position he’s in for better or worse, he’s expected to win, that’s who he is. That’s the guy he’s always been, he’s the guy who hasn’t lost a fight since he was a child. You put that out there, then you’ve got to defend that and we don’t think he can. When it’s over I hope Sergey gets the credit he deserves and it should be a whole lot because this is a tough fight.”

Q: As a promoter does it frustrate you that Sergey is the B side here?

Kathy Duva: “To me he’s not the B-side. His name is first on the poster, he does have the world titles. I think that designation of A- and B-side is an unfortunate thing in many cases, but when you have two guys who could argue all night over who’s going to win then there’s no A-side and no B-side. It’s two great fighters fighting each other. Sergey holds the titles right now, Ward has held titles in the past. Ward is a legendary fighter; Sergey is trying to become one. There’s little different points in the legacy aspects of their careers, but nevertheless this is the fight that we wanted. We wanted it sooner, but we had to wait and so we did. Ward has had his fights that he needed and there’s no excuses. There are certain fights that defy that A-side/B-side description and I think this is one of them.”

Q: Do you think Sergey’s last three opponents, Bernard Hopkins, Isaac Chilemba and Jean Pascal, have built him up for this fight before it was even signed?

John David Jackson: “To a degree maybe. What people don’t realize is that Sergey can fight against any style. He’s very intelligent in the ring, he knows how to solve the fighters’ defensive mechanisms. Those three fights have helped him prepare for this fight, but I think Sergey would have been able to solve the Andre Ward problem regardless. Ward is crafty and he’s not going to be a big problem offensively. If he does, then he’s rolling the dice and he’s going to leave himself open for wide open shots and I don’t think he’s going to do that, especially after he gets hit by Sergey. I think he’s going to be evasive and try to avoid Sergey’s power shots, and if he’s really evasive, how can you win a fight being an evasive fighter? He’s going to have to stand and fight eventually.”
Closing Remarks:

Sergey Kovalev: “Pay attention to November 19 everybody. It’s going to be a huge fight with Andre Ward. He’s never lost before, but it’s my job. So let me be the one to do it.”

Egis Klimas: “We’re looking forward for somebody to lose and that would be Andre Ward. I’m sorry about it, but that’s the only thing I think I can say. Tune into HBO PPV on November 19.”

Kathy Duva: “You’re going to see the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world on November 19. Make sure all of your readers and viewers know about it because this is the fight Mayweather-Pacquiao should have been.”
Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight title at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Corona Extra, Zappos, JetLux and Monster Products. The championship event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets are available on axs.comand the T-Mobile Arena box office.

www.boxingnews24.com/2016/11/kovalev-ward-media-conference-call-kovalev-quotes/

Oscar Valdez’s title search

62316ramirez016 Photos: Mikey Williams / Top Rank

By Bill Dwyre –

As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, Oscar Valdez knew he was fighting Saturday night in the co-main event of the Terence Crawford-Viktor Postol boxing card. What he didn’t know was exactly what he was fighting for, other than a nice paycheck and another step forward in his career.

His was the World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight (126 pounds) title fight that maybe wasn’t going to be a title fight. And maybe it was. With three days to go before the event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, there was a hint of Abbott and Costello and “Who’s on First.”

Valdez will fight Matias “La Cobrita” Rueda immediately before Crawford and Postol vie for the 140-pound WBO and World Boxing Council (WBC) title unification belts, and advance publicity material had listed the Valdez-Rueda bout as a title fight. Except one thing stood in the way.

Vasyl Lomachenko.

Lomachenko has quickly become the Manny Pacquiao of the 126 and 130-pound divisions. When he knocked out Roman “Rocky” Martinez June 11, he became the WBO junior lightweight (130 pounds) champion. That was in his seventh professional fight. He was already the WBO’s 126-pound champion. So, with a record of 6-1, the Ukrainian had become the fastest ever to win two world titles. His success was no surprise, just the speed of it. As an amateur, he had won World Championships in 2009 and 2011 and Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012.

His victory over Martinez presented him with a dilemma. Would he stay at 126 pounds or vacate that title and keep the 130 pound belt?

His Lithuanian manager, Egis Klimas, was at Top Rank Promotion’s gym Tuesday afternoon, watching another of his fighters. He said Lomachenko was undecided, but had been given 60 days before announcing what he would do with his 126-pound title. That would take decision time into early August, and leave the Valdez-Rueda fight as a match made in Limbo.

“I don’t know what will happen,” Klimas said, “but I think we will likely go to the 130-pound division. More big names there.”

That was just before 2 p.m.

Shortly after, Valdez was interviewed and had no idea himself. He was asked if it wasn’t a tough dilemma, going into a fight not knowing exactly what was at stake.

“Not at all,” he said. “I’m here to fight. I take it all very seriously. I expect a war every time I go out there. That’s all I’m thinking about. I’ve heard a lot of things about how this will surely be a title fight, but a lot of that comes from people who really don’t know.

“I just want to fight. That’s all that’s on my mind.”

Of course, a few minutes later in the interview, Valdez said, “My dream is to become a champion.”

So, Lomachenko’s manager didn’t know. Valdez didn’t know. Presumably Rueda, himself in line to win a title by beating Valdez, didn’t know.

But somebody in a high place did.

At 3:30, Bob Arum, Top Rank’s chief executive, in response to a phone call, said, “It’s a title fight. All set. Lomachenko is vacating to 130 pounds.”

There was no desire to hear of the politics and arm-twisting that achieved that. Watch the Netflix series “House of Cards” and you’ll get the picture. This is boxing. Knowing too many details means somebody might have to kill you.

The good news is that, at least by Wednesday’s final press conference, Valdez, Rueda and even Lomachenko’s manager, Klimas, will know, and the world of boxing, like the soap opera, will keep turning.

The best part of that is that Valdez, an unbeaten 25-year-old with a 19-0 record that includes 17 knockouts, will be in a spotlight he deserves.

Like Lomachenko, he is a two-time Olympian and as popular in Mexico as he is fast-rising in his division. When he lost to Lomachenko in the semifinals of 2009 World Championships in Milan, Italy, it got him a bronze medal and made him the first from his country to get a medal in that event. When he lost to Irishman Johnny Joe Nevin in the London Olympics, in a match that would have achieved at least a bronze medal with a victory, he wanted that so badly for his country that he was devastated.

“My world fell on me that day,” Valdez said. “I thought I had won. When the fight ended, I went to my corner and looked at my trainer. He is an honest guy. He tells me when he thinks I have lost. I could see it in his face. He thought we won a bronze medal.”

Valdez had missed the opening ceremonies because he had to fight the next day. He missed the closing ceremonies “because I was too sad.” He also missed both in Beijing, for similar reasons.

“I regret that now,” he said. “You cannot be a sore loser.

He said two things really picked him up in the aftermath of that near miss at an Olympic medal in London.

“When we got back to Mexico City,” he said, “the people just lifted me. Mexicans can be tough critics, but they seemed to understand that I had done my best and they treated me so well.”

The reaction of his opponent, Nevin, after that bronze-medal match, also helped.

“He sent out a tweet,” Valdez said, “that said: ‘It is an honor to win over a future pro world champ.’ ”

Valdez said he will watch the Rio Olympics with great interest, “because I have friends on the boxing team who wanted to make it in 2012 and now are there.”

But first things first. He has a big fight Saturday night. It will be on the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast. A victory will mean an impressive 20-0 start as a pro.

And, oh yes. How could we forget? It is for a world title.

www.fightnews.com/Boxing/oscar-valdezs-title-search-347818

Kovalev vs. Chilemba on BoxNation on 7/11

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LONDON (July 4) – Pound-for-pound star Sergey Kovalev’s Russian homecoming against Isaac Chilemba will be screened exclusively live on BoxNation on Monday July 11th.

The undefeated and unified light-heavyweight world champion will be looking to add to his impressive destruction of the 175-pound division when he takes on the well-schooled Chilemba, who, despite three points losses has never been stopped in 29 fights.

The iron-fisted Kovalev on the other hand has racked up 26 knockouts in his 29 wins and will be out to do what no one has done before by knocking out Chilemba in front of his home fans at the DIVS Arena in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

33-year-old Kovalev is lined up to face Andre Ward later this year in a super-fight but Malawi born Chilemba is looking to crash the party and is hoping that the Russian has unwisely overlooked him.

Kovalev, however, has stated he will be raring to go come fight night when the two clash exclusively live on ‘The Channel of Champions’.

“I am so excited to fight in my home country of Russia,” said Kovalev. “It gives me great pride to bring my titles home at last. I would like to thank my manager, Egis Klimas, my promoter Kathy Duva and Igor Altushkin of Russian Copper Company for making this dream of mine a reality. Chilemba is a tough opponent and I will be ready for him on July 11.”

Chilemba, with 24 wins on his record, is undaunted at sharing the ring with one of boxing’s most feared punchers.

“I have met a lot of obstacles and every time I think I’ve got it right, I fall again, but I know my goals and I never stop following my dreams,” said Chilemba. “When I received a call from my manager Jodi Solomon regarding this opportunity, I was over the moon. I thank Sergey and his team for putting their titles on the line to face me, all I want to say to them is: they are in for a surprise; they gave the wrong guy an opportunity. I’ll work my ass off and I’m in it to win it! Russia here we come!”

Jim McMunn, BoxNation Managing Director, said: “This is a really intriguing fight because Sergey Kovalev cannot look too far ahead when he faces Isaac Chilemba. We have seen it many times in the past when fighters have overlooked opponents that are immediately in front of them and paid the price. There is no doubt that Kovalev is one of the most exciting and biggest punchers around so we are delighted to have him back on BoxNation.”

BoxNation will be airing a host of big fights exclusively live including Guillermo Rigondeaux v Jazza Dickens, Terence Crawford v Viktor Postol and Canelo Alvarez v Liam Smith.

www.boxingnews24.com/2016/07/sergey-kovalev-defend-light-heavyweight-crown-isaac-chilemba-exclusively-live-boxnation-july-11th/

 

Lomachenko: Getting Salido back into the ring would be something I would like to see

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Photos: Chris Farina / Top Rank

Two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist and reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko (4-1, 2 KOs) kicked off Fight Week today with a training camp media workout at the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy in Oxnard, Calif. Lomachenko will defend his title on Saturday night against WBO #7 world-rated contender Romulo Koasicha (24-4,14 KOs), of San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

Here is what Lomachenko and his manager Egis Klimas had to say:

Vasyl Lomachenko: “I want to bring something new to boxing. I want to be known to fans and appreciated as a ‘boxer-painter’ in regards to speed, footwork, punching power — an art form inside the ring. I have looked at videos of many great champions like Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson and Joe Frazier who each had special qualities. I never say one particular fighter is the best ever because each has a special unique style of fighting. Every fight has challenges. I looked at some video of my opponent who fought Lee Selby. In the middle of that fight, my opponent did a transition and fought with a different type of style against Selby. These are the situations you must deal with on the night of a fight.

“Who would I like to fight some day? Getting Salido back into the ring would be something I would like to see.” Lomachenko, suffered his only loss to Salido via split decision in his second pro fight after Salido came in overweight.

Egis Klimas: “We have not seen the best of Vasyl Lomachenko, maybe something like 40 percent of what we are going to see. He pushes himself 120 percent. He likes to spar 15 rounds daily against four different opponents. No one trains harder. He proved he was the best amateur boxer and he will prove that he is the best professional fighter.”

Lomachenko vs. Koasicha will be the co-main event to the 12-round welterweight rumble between two-division world champion TIMOTHY “Desert Storm” BRADLEY JR., (32-1-1, 12 KOs), of Palm Springs, Calif., in his second reign as World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion, and former world champion BRANDON “Bam Bam” RIOS (33-2-1, 23 KOs), of Oxnard, Calif. Bradley and Rios fought in Fights of the Year in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

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http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/lomachenko-getting-salido-back-into-the-ring-would-be-something-i-would-like-to-see-312147

Kovalev vs. Mohammedi Final Press Conference

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev – Mohammedi Presser
Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Credit:  Photos by David Spagnolo/Main Events –

The final press conference was held Thursday for the HBO-televised clash between WBO/WBA/IBF light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) and mandatory challenger Nadjib “Irondjib” Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs) on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. The co-feature will include a ten-round light heavyweight match-up between Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) and Yuniesky Gonzalez (16-0, 12 KOs).

Sergey Kovalev: “Thank you to WBO. This was my first belt and mean a lot to me. Thank you for this ring. Thank you for everybody that came here today. Thank you Kathy Duva my promoter, Egis Klimas my manager and Nadjib Mohammedi. I want to show this Saturday who I am. I would like to still be champion as long time as possible. I did not get all my goals in my career yet. My amateur career I didn’t give me a lot of opportunities. I was hurt in amateur career and I had to try not to closed doors. Some of my dreams in the boxing and my goals not finished. For my dreams, my goals this Saturday is the next step in my career…I cannot say who is the best. I try to be better with every day, fight and build my career as I would like.”

Nadjib Mohammedi: “I am very excited and happy. Thank you Sergey Kovalev, Main Events and HBO. I have hard work in my training camp for this fight. I am very happy. I promise Saturday a good fight. I am ready. Thank you very much.”

Kathy Duva/CEO of Main Events: “There has been a lot of discussion lately about where the best fighters fight. The place that has developed every major fighter in the last 30 years is HBO and that is why Sergey Kovalev is an HBO Fighter. This event is going to be promoted with a group of great promoters. Krusher Promotions, Sergey’s promotional company, will be our new partner going forward. Our sponsor is Myagkov Vodka. It is so nice to be back here at Mandalay Bay. We have had a long relationship with Mandalay Bay going back to Fernando Vargas. It is in my view my favorite place in Las Vegas to come. It is associated with the great people at MGM International and my good friend Richard Sturm.”

“Our first time in Nevada was in 1981 when Sugar Ray Leonard fought Thomas Hearns. This is my first time working with the current commission here in Nevada. We are forging a good relationship with them. I want to thank Cisco Aguilar and Bob Bennett.”

“The first time Sergey Kovalev fought in Las Vegas it was on an undercard. Those fighters work just as hard as everyone else. We have a great undercard for this Saturday’s event and it is always fun to watch the undercard fighters because you never know if one of them could be the next Sergey Kovalev. The opening bout on HBO World Championship Boxing telecast will feature Jean Pascal, the former light heavyweight champion of the world, against the undefeated Cuban Yuniesky Gonzalez. Pascal is truly a warrior in the best sense of the word. His promoter is InterBox and he also has his own promotional company, Jean Pascal Promotions.”

“We got to know Nadjib Mohammedi a year ago when he fought Anatoliy Dudchenko on one of our shows. He came in as the under dog and came away as the mandatory challenger. I thank God every day for the day I met Egis Klimas and he brought me Sergey Kovalev. He has a great team around him. Sergey Kovalev’s trainer is a former world champion. I have known John David Jackson for a long time and he is one of the best trainers in the world. Bernard Hopkins said to me that Sergey is getting better with every fight. He is powerfully fast and shockingly dominating. He is the kind of guy that people want to see. Hopkins warned Sergey not to get complacent. I think a mark of a great fighter is no matter what you do you are never satisfied and that is the best way to describe Sergey.”

Bob Bennett – Nevada Athletic Commission: “On behalf of the Nevada Athletic Commission, we are pleased and privileged to bring you this fight. We would like to thank Main Events, HBO, Richard Sturm and Mandalay Bay and last, but not least, we really want to thank the fighters because without them none of us would be here.”

Paco Valcarcel – WBO President: “Sergey Kovalev was a sensation. Sergey, we have something for you. He is a great human being. He is a great fighter, outstanding. You going to have a lot of excitement in this fight. We have a real diamond ring for him. This is something we give to our champions.”

Egis Klimas – Sergey Kovalev’s Manager: “Good afternoon. First I want to thank Don Turner who gave me my first steps in boxing. He is the man who introduced me to this sport. He noticed Sergey and told me I had to sign him. Coming back to Vegas brings back a lot of good memories because this is where Sergey won his first belt. He won the NABA Light Heavyweight Title. We were celebrating here and he grabbed his belt, put a shirt over it and brought it downstairs. He said he wanted to give it to me. He gave it to me and said it was our title together. I still have it at my house, he never took it back. I want to thank HBO and Nadjib Mohammedi for taking this fight, Mandalay Bay and media for coming for this good event. We are looking for one of the best fights in the light heavyweight division. When Sergey came to United States in 2009 the light heavyweight division was dead and nobody was talking about it. I strongly believe the division is burning today and that is because of Sergey. There is not a match in this division that happens without mentioning his name.”

John David Jackson – Sergey Kovalev’s Trainer: “I am not going to talk too much. I am going to let Sergey do the talking in the ring Saturday night. But I was a WBO champion during my career and where is my ring, Paco? (laughing)”

“I think Sergey Kovalev is in the top five fighters pound-for-pound and he can become #1.”

Vince Caruso: “Nadjib Mohammedi, a lot of people didn’t know who we were not too long ago. After Saturday he will be known everywhere. I can make two guarantees: He will weigh 175 pounds tomorrow on the scale and he will have the best game plan possible. That is because of Abel Sanchez, who I believe he is the best trainer in the business. When Nadjib’s trainer couldn’t make it into the country back in November, I had the chance to call Abel to step in. It is like putting sugar in the Duncan Hines…Nadjib Mohammedi is Saturday’s challenger but he will be Sunday’s champion.”

Jon Ali – Nadjib Mohammedi’s Co-Manager: “I am glad to be here with my brother, Nadjib Mohammedi. I am very proud of him. Back in France he came a long way to get here. Saturday night will change his life forever.”

Abel Sanchez – Nadjib Mohammedi’s Trainer: “Nadjib earned this right by moving up the ladder to become the #1 contender. I believe we are fighting the best light heavyweight in the world. We know we are fighting a very tough guy. I hope everyone enjoys the fight.”

Jean Pascal: “Hi everybody. There is no place like home. I have been fighting at home my whole career. I am glad to be in Vegas, it is my first time fighting here. Every fighter on my level wants to fight at least one time in Vegas. This is my chance to make a statement on Saturday night. I know am still among the best in the world and best in my division. I know Yuniesky Gonzalez is hungry and he wants to make a statement. I want to give you guys a great show on Saturday night.”

“My philosophy is the best must fight the best. I believe I am still among the best in the world. I am the best light heavyweight in the world but I had a bad night on March 14.”

Yuniesky Gonzalez: “Good afternoon. Thank you to Jean Pascal team, HBO and Joe DiGuardia and Kathy Duva of Main Events for this opportunity. Gracias. We are going to see high quality boxing from Yuniesky Gonzalez Saturday night.”

Pierre Duc – InterBox Promotions: “Good afternoon. InterBox has been one of the lead promoters in Canada for a long time but this is our first time in Vegas, so this is a great thrill for us. Thank you to HBO, Kathy Duva and Main Events for having us here. Following Jean Pascal’s fight with Sergey Kovalev one of Pascal’s requests was to step back into the ring as soon as possible. We are so happy to make this happen for him. You are going to see a very exciting fight on HBO. Jean Pascal is a former light heavyweight champion. Kathy Duva described him as a warrior. This is going to be a long and very difficult fight for both fighters.”

Marc Ramsay – Jean Pascal’s Trainer: “Thank you for being with us today. After the fight with Sergey Kovalev, Jean Pascal requested a fight right away on HBO with the best opponent available. With the style of both fighters we are going to have a great fight. We had a great training camp and it should be a great fight Saturday night.”

Joe DiGuardia – Star Boxing, Gonzalez’s Promoter: “Thank you. It is great to be back here at Mandalay Bay where I have also had some great fights and my best success stories. I want to thank Kathy Duva and Main Events from having us, Peter Nelson and HBO for giving this opportunity to Yuniesky Gonzalez. Jean Pascal is a great champion. Sergey Kovalev is one of the greatest of our time. Yuniesky Gonzalez is pleased to have this opportunity. Yuniesky Gonzalez is an exciting fighter. I guarantee you will see an exciting fight with Yuniesky Gonzalez and Jean Pascal. Yuniesky Gonzalez has been clawing his way to get this opportunity and he will take advantage of it.”

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

Kovalev - Mohammedi Presser  Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/kovalev-vs-mohammedi-final-press-conference-298935

Sergey Kovalev interview quotes – Kovalev vs Mohammedi

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Credit:  Photo: David Spagnolo/Main Events –

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion

On coming off big fights against Pascal and Hopkins but now facing a lesser known fighter:

“For me, any fight means a lot because it is the next step. Who I am and how I do my job means a lot. He is the #1 IBF contender. He deserves this fight. I very excited that I have three titles and I have the opportunity to defend it against Mohammedi. He deserves this fight. He is #1. He is very motivated. When a boxer is motivated or any man is motivated it makes him very dangerous.”

On training in Oxnard:

“Oxnard is different place compared to my last training camp. I am very happy here and everything is comfortable. Everything is good. Big Bear training camp is conditioning and physical training camp. Now training camp in Oxnard is boxing camp with sparring and heavy bags. For the boxing, I feel very comfortable here. My sparring partners help me. I feel good.”

On his last fight against Pascal:

“I had some problems in my training camp for Pascal. I made some mistakes. I started to make my weight very late. I was very happy after Hopkins fight. It was a lot of things. I celebrated New Year and Christmas in Russia. Christmas is biggest holiday in Russia. I got a lot of overfull. It made for me big trouble to make the weight for the fight. I didn’t have a good sparring partner for the fight. It was a lot of things. Right now everything is clean and going very well.”

On the possibility of a Pascal Rematch:

“I don’t want to speak about Pascal because he does not deserve to get attention. He lost my respect for him even before the fight. I cannot respect even his team. He is piece of shit. Same as Stevenson. I think all fighters make terrible fighters in Canada. I don’t respect and I want to kick his ass again and much, much bigger this time. If it will happen rematch, he will sleep in four rounds because he is a piece of shit.”

On the added pressure of headlining a fight in Las Vegas:

“No for me it doesn’t matter where I am fighting. I don’t have any problems. I feel very comfortable and happy that my fight is in Las Vegas. I wait a long time for my fight. I wanted LA or Las Vegas and it will happen July 25. I am very happy and excited because I wanted to give to my fans who long time waited to watch my fight live and now it will happen. Las Vegas is biggest place for the fight and Las Vegas is terrific place a lot of people from everywhere come to Las Vegas to get more fun. July 25 they will be very happy and very fun day.”

On Nadjib working with Abel Sanchez, Kovalev’s former trainer:

“Who is this Abel? I don’t know any Abel.”

On Adonis Stevenson:

“He is a piece of shit.”

On where he stands among all current boxers:

“I don’t think about this at all. I don’t care where I am. It is most important what I have, not where I am.”

On his opponent, Nadjib Mohammedi:

“I can say that I will kick his ass.”

On the added pressure to impress:

“I want to be better and want to be improved for every fight because a boxer can never to be perfect. 100% everything is good, no. Every boxer wants to be better, better, better. My goal in my preparations is to get better and remove all my mistakes from last fight. To show to people I can not only to punch, I can do boxing. I am disappointed people couldn’t see in my first 14 or 15 fights. I can do boxing. I just started to get good opponents when I signed contract with Kathy Duva. Very big respect with Kathy Duva and her team that they got attention on my boxing. I am very happy that I signed contract Main Events and right now my career is going up. It will continue be going up because we are together right now. We are a team – Egis Klimas, Kathy Duva, Main Events and Krusher Promotions. We are going up. We give to boxing fans good boxing fight because right now it is very seldom in real fights. Because a lot of fighters are making business but not making boxing. I can count on my left hand who are the real fighters in boxing: Gennady Golovkin, Miguel Cotto and Keith Thurman and I don’t remember more. And maybe me. I don’t want to push me that I am the best, but if people are thinking it I am very happy. I wake every morning and get running and working hard. I happy that people are thinking that I am good boxer.”

Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events

“We are very pleased to be working with HBO and Mandalay Bay where we have had such a great history here at Main Events. Sergey Kovalev is a throwback fighter who wants to take on every challenge. He has fought the #2 and #3 guys in his division in Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal. Now he is fighting his mandatory against Nadjib Mohammedi. It will be a great fight. It always is when Sergey gets in the ring.”

On why fans just want to see Sergey Kovalev fight no matter who he is fighting:

“It is the same thing that makes fans wants to watch Mike Tyson or Gennady Golovkin. Fans want to see knockouts. This is a blood sport. Sergey brings all of that. Sergey is a bad, bad man. He’s got that edge and that danger to him. My barometer has always been when I get excited myself to watch a fighter after the thousands of fights I have seen. I still get excited when Sergey fights. Every fighter when he becomes accomplished enough will have to get themselves up for absolutely everybody. He needs to prove this too. He is still on the way up, but he is a lot further along the way. He has had two difficult and challenging fights and there is a natural tendency to taper off in that situation. He needs to stay focused on Nadjib.”

On Mohammedi’s hunger:

“He has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He has had a year to focus on nothing else but this fight. Sergey has had to face two huge challenges. He also had a child and moved across the country. Nadjib has had nothing to do except focus on this fight. He is working with Abel Sanchez, who used to work with Sergey, and they don’t like each other very much.”

On Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba fighting on the undercard:

“Jolene [Mizzone, Main Events’ matchmaker] was still working to find opponents for them. I believe they are still on the card. Jolene is the best and she will figure it out. If Chilemba can’t fight on this card, he will be ordered to fight as mandatory for the WBC title soon.”

On the current status of ticket sales for this fight:

“There has been a tendency in boxing lately to give all the tickets away. Tickets are in no way sold out. It will take a lot of time before the damage to this market can be undone. We are hoping for a big walk up. I have no thoughts at all on the show down the street. Giving tickets away on the same night that people are charging for a fight down this street is another example of anti-competitive behavior. Our prices are reasonable, tickets start at $25. Sergey is well worth the price of admission and you get what you pay for.”

On why Main Events signed Mohammedi:

“When we met Nadjib, he fought on one of our NBC cards against Anatoliy Dudchenko and became the #1 challenger. As Sergey’s promoter I became interested in him. We struck a good relationship with him and his team. It made sense for us to work with him. When he came here for his fight on the Hopkins’ undercard, his trainer couldn’t make it so he ended up working with Abel [Sanchez]. He decided to wait very patiently for Sergey’s other fights. He is exciting and aggressive and that is what we like to see.”

On the odds for this fight:

“We don’t set the odds. The odds don’t reflect the competitiveness of the fight but certain people’s willingness to bet on the fight.”

On the possibility of a rematch with Pascal:

“I think Sergey just made it a lot more interesting with his comments about Pascal. From a business perspective, it is a great fight. We are keeping Pascal close. He is fighting in the co-feature but first Pascal has to defeat Gonzalez.”

On the possibility of a fight against Andre Ward:

“We have been talking to Andrew Ward’s people all week. We all agree the fight is going to happen; it is just a matter of when. Sergey’s schedule for his next few fights is planned. That fight should happen by the end of next year. Sergey wants to fight the best. The best fighting the best is what people want to see. We want to complete that deal in the foreseeable future.”

On the other potential opponents for Kovalev in the light heavyweight division:

“There are plenty of opponents. There are always new fighters coming along. The landscape of boxing changed six months ago and I am willing to bet that in another six months it will change again. I think between the fighters in the light heavyweight division and guys at 168 that are going to moving up there will be no shortage of opponents for Sergey. When you have that kind of star power in the division, they are going to draw together like magnets. Sergey has a contract with HBO and his career is mapped out for the next three years.”

On Nadjib Mohammedi:

“He has had an education with Abel that he didn’t have before. He came in as the opponent and he showed up on his own and did the job. You have to respect a guy that can do that. He has had a year to focus on this while Sergey has been focused on 1,000 other things over that same year.”

On Mohammedi working with Abel Sanchez:

“He fought on the undercard of the Hopkins-Kovalev fight and worked with Abel on that fight as well. He has been in the gym with other tremendous other fighters. I give Nadjib a lot of credit.”

On Sergey’s improving English:

“I don’t have to tell him that it is important. He came to me about it. Every time I talk to him it gets better. He finds ways to express himself. That is just part of the fun of Sergey Kovalev. He is working with a teacher. I had a similar situation with Tomasz Adamek and now he can express himself as well as anybody. The perfectionist part of Sergey will drive him to continually improve. What you don’t see is when he is in a relaxed setting he is much better. You will see more of that as time goes on.”

John David Jackson, Sergey Kovalev’s Trainer

On Nadjib Mohammedi:

“He is unconventional. He has his own style. He’s wild with some of his shots. Getting ready for him isn’t an easy task. We have to prepare correctly. Now that Abel is working with him they may have a formidable fight plan to combat what Sergey is brings to the table. However, once he gets hit we will see what he is made of. We know they are going to prepare the best they can and so are we.”

Egis Klimas, Sergey Kovalev’s Manager

“Welcome to conference call and we are looking forward to the fight.”

Vince Caruso, Nadjib Mohammedi’s Co-Manager

On Nadjib’s ethnicity:

“Nadjib is of Algerian descent but he was raised in France.”

On the odds for this fight:

“HBO told me that they were up to 45-to-1 and that is about as high as Buster Douglas was. I think we are about 100-to-1 shot. We are in with a guy who doesn’t make mistakes. Odds are against us but this will be the last time he will be overlooked.”

On how Mohammedi started boxing:

“His older brother took him to a boxing gym and he fell in love with it. He was 14 years old and was working in the markets. He’s been in love with it ever since.”

On Nadjib’s preparation for this fight:

“This is the first training camp where I know nothing. Nadjib is secluded with Abel. They are going to do it their way. He is up there doing their thing. I am down here dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s. I can tell you this, his weight is on target and he is in tip top shape.”

About Kovalev vs. Mohammedi

WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1, 24 KOs) will compete in his first mandatory title defense against Nadjib “Irondjib” Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs) on Saturday, July 25 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada. The co-feature will include a ten-round light heavyweight match-up between Jean Pascal (29-3-1, 17 KOs) and Yunieski Gonzalez (16-0, 12 KOs). Tickets are on sale now and start at $25. Tickets can be purchased through TicketMaster and all MGM Resorts Properties Ticket Offices. The HBO World Championship Boxing® telecast begins at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

http://www.boxing247.com/boxing-news/sergey-kovalev-quotes/43609

Sergey Kovalev pre-fight quotes; in action next weekend vs Mohammedi

kovalev-workout5-620x330

Sergey Kovalev and his team held a conference call this week in advance of his upcoming fight against Nadjib Mohammedi. Right here, find all the quotes from Krusher.

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion

On coming off big fights against Pascal and Hopkins but now facing a lesser known fighter:

“For me, any fight means a lot because it is the next step. Who I am and how I do my job means a lot. He is the #1 IBF contender. He deserves this fight. I very excited that I have three titles and I have the opportunity to defend it against Mohammedi. He deserves this fight. He is #1. He is very motivated. When a boxer is motivated or any man is motivated it makes him very dangerous.”

On training in Oxnard:

“Oxnard is different place compared to my last training camp. I am very happy here and everything is comfortable. Everything is good. Big Bear training camp is conditioning and physical training camp. Now training camp in Oxnard is boxing camp with sparring and heavy bags. For the boxing, I feel very comfortable here. My sparring partners help me. I feel good.”

On his last fight against Pascal:

“I had some problems in my training camp for Pascal. I made some mistakes. I started to make my weight very late. I was very happy after Hopkins fight. It was a lot of things. I celebrated New Year and Christmas in Russia. Christmas is biggest holiday in Russia. I got a lot of overfull. It made for me big trouble to make the weight for the fight. I didn’t have a good sparring partner for the fight. It was a lot of things. Right now everything is clean and going very well.”

On the possibility of a Pascal Rematch:

“I don’t want to speak about Pascal because he does not deserve to get attention. He lost my respect for him even before the fight. I cannot respect even his team. He is piece of shit. Same as Stevenson. I think all fighters make terrible fighters in Canada. I don’t respect and I want to kick his ass again and much, much bigger this time. If it will happen rematch, he will sleep in four rounds because he is a piece of shit.”

On the added pressure of headlining a fight in Las Vegas:

“No for me it doesn’t matter where I am fighting. I don’t have any problems. I feel very comfortable and happy that my fight is in Las Vegas. I wait a long time for my fight. I wanted LA or Las Vegas and it will happen July 25. I am very happy and excited because I wanted to give to my fans who long time waited to watch my fight live and now it will happen. Las Vegas is biggest place for the fight and Las Vegas is terrific place a lot of people from everywhere come to Las Vegas to get more fun. July 25 they will be very happy and very fun day.”

On Nadjib working with Abel Sanchez, Kovalev’s former trainer:

“Who is this Abel? I don’t know any Abel.”

On Adonis Stevenson:

“He is a piece of shit.”

On where he stands among all current boxers:

“I don’t think about this at all. I don’t care where I am. It is most important what I have, not where I am.”

On his opponent, Nadjib Mohammedi:

“I can say that I will kick his ass.”

On the added pressure to impress:

“I want to be better and want to be improved for every fight because a boxer can never to be perfect. 100% everything is good, no. Every boxer wants to be better, better, better. My goal in my preparations is to get better and remove all my mistakes from last fight. To show to people I can not only to punch, I can do boxing. I am disappointed people couldn’t see in my first 14 or 15 fights. I can do boxing. I just started to get good opponents when I signed contract with Kathy Duva. Very big respect with Kathy Duva and her team that they got attention on my boxing. I am very happy that I signed contract Main Events and right now my career is going up. It will continue be going up because we are together right now. We are a team – Egis Klimas, Kathy Duva, Main Events and Krusher Promotions. We are going up. We give to boxing fans good boxing fight because right now it is very seldom in real fights. Because a lot of fighters are making business but not making boxing. I can count on my left hand who are the real fighters in boxing: Gennady Golovkin, Miguel Cotto and Keith Thurman and I don’t remember more. And maybe me. I don’t want to push me that I am the best, but if people are thinking it I am very happy. I wake every morning and get running and working hard. I happy that people are thinking that I am good boxer.”

Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events

“We are very pleased to be working with HBO and Mandalay Bay where we have had such a great history here at Main Events. Sergey Kovalev is a throwback fighter who wants to take on every challenge. He has fought the #2 and #3 guys in his division in Bernard Hopkins and Jean Pascal. Now he is fighting his mandatory against Nadjib Mohammedi. It will be a great fight. It always is when Sergey gets in the ring.”

On why fans just want to see Sergey Kovalev fight no matter who he is fighting:

“It is the same thing that makes fans wants to watch Mike Tyson or Gennady Golovkin. Fans want to see knockouts. This is a blood sport. Sergey brings all of that. Sergey is a bad, bad man. He’s got that edge and that danger to him. My barometer has always been when I get excited myself to watch a fighter after the thousands of fights I have seen. I still get excited when Sergey fights. Every fighter when he becomes accomplished enough will have to get themselves up for absolutely everybody. He needs to prove this too. He is still on the way up, but he is a lot further along the way. He has had two difficult and challenging fights and there is a natural tendency to taper off in that situation. He needs to stay focused on Nadjib.”

On Mohammedi’s hunger:

“He has nothing to lose and everything to gain. He has had a year to focus on nothing else but this fight. Sergey has had to face two huge challenges. He also had a child and moved across the country. Nadjib has had nothing to do except focus on this fight. He is working with Abel Sanchez, who used to work with Sergey, and they don’t like each other very much.”

On Sullivan Barrera and Isaac Chilemba fighting on the undercard:

“Jolene [Mizzone, Main Events’ matchmaker] was still working to find opponents for them. I believe they are still on the card. Jolene is the best and she will figure it out. If Chilemba can’t fight on this card, he will be ordered to fight as mandatory for the WBC title soon.”

On the current status of ticket sales for this fight:

“There has been a tendency in boxing lately to give all the tickets away. Tickets are in no way sold out. It will take a lot of time before the damage to this market can be undone. We are hoping for a big walk up. I have no thoughts at all on the show down the street. Giving tickets away on the same night that people are charging for a fight down this street is another example of anti-competitive behavior. Our prices are reasonable, tickets start at $25. Sergey is well worth the price of admission and you get what you pay for.”

On why Main Events signed Mohammedi:

“When we met Nadjib, he fought on one of our NBC cards against Anatoliy Dudchenko and became the #1 challenger. As Sergey’s promoter I became interested in him. We struck a good relationship with him and his team. It made sense for us to work with him. When he came here for his fight on the Hopkins’ undercard, his trainer couldn’t make it so he ended up working with Abel [Sanchez]. He decided to wait very patiently for Sergey’s other fights. He is exciting and aggressive and that is what we like to see.”

On the odds for this fight:

“We don’t set the odds. The odds don’t reflect the competitiveness of the fight but certain people’s willingness to bet on the fight.”

On the possibility of a rematch with Pascal:

“I think Sergey just made it a lot more interesting with his comments about Pascal. From a business perspective, it is a great fight. We are keeping Pascal close. He is fighting in the co-feature but first Pascal has to defeat Gonzalez.”

On the possibility of a fight against Andre Ward:

“We have been talking to Andrew Ward’s people all week. We all agree the fight is going to happen; it is just a matter of when. Sergey’s schedule for his next few fights is planned. That fight should happen by the end of next year. Sergey wants to fight the best. The best fighting the best is what people want to see. We want to complete that deal in the foreseeable future.”

On the other potential opponents for Kovalev in the light heavyweight division:

“There are plenty of opponents. There are always new fighters coming along. The landscape of boxing changed six months ago and I am willing to bet that in another six months it will change again. I think between the fighters in the light heavyweight division and guys at 168 that are going to moving up there will be no shortage of opponents for Sergey. When you have that kind of star power in the division, they are going to draw together like magnets. Sergey has a contract with HBO and his career is mapped out for the next three years.”

On Nadjib Mohammedi:

“He has had an education with Abel that he didn’t have before. He came in as the opponent and he showed up on his own and did the job. You have to respect a guy that can do that. He has had a year to focus on this while Sergey has been focused on 1,000 other things over that same year.”

On Mohammedi working with Abel Sanchez:

“He fought on the undercard of the Hopkins-Kovalev fight and worked with Abel on that fight as well. He has been in the gym with other tremendous other fighters. I give Nadjib a lot of credit.”

On Sergey’s improving English:

“I don’t have to tell him that it is important. He came to me about it. Every time I talk to him it gets better. He finds ways to express himself. That is just part of the fun of Sergey Kovalev. He is working with a teacher. I had a similar situation with Tomasz Adamek and now he can express himself as well as anybody. The perfectionist part of Sergey will drive him to continually improve. What you don’t see is when he is in a relaxed setting he is much better. You will see more of that as time goes on.”

http://www.proboxing-fans.com/sergey-kovalev-pre-fight-quotes-in-action-vs-mohammedi_071515/

Kovalev-Mohammedi Kickoff Press Conference

kovalev-mohammadi-kickoff680

Credit:  Photos by David Spagnolo/Main Events –

WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and IBF mandatory challenger Nadjib “Iron Jib” Mohammedi, along with their camps, addressed the media Saturday at a press conference in Los Angeles to formally announce their world title clash on July 25 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

Sergey Kovalev: “Hello everybody. Thank you for comes here. What I can say? I already said enough for my side. I am sure it is going to be very interesting fight. Why? Because Nadjib has very good and big motivation to be champion and my desire is to get my four titles. I think that will happen this year, that I fight a unified fight. Fight against Nadjib is for me next step. I am not going to say that I will, I will and I will, is words of trash talkers. I am going to show what I can in the ring.

“Everyone welcome to Vegas July 25 to Mandalay Bay and have a nice time. Thank you very much for your attention, for my promoter, Kathy Duva, and manager [Egis Klimas] that they turn their attention to me, sign me and now my career is in their hands. I like it. Everything I have right now is good.

“Also I am very happy that my fight is on HBO. I am happy and I am going to be best in my division. I am not finished of my collection of all of my belts. I shoot and I must to get one more, WBC title. Just give me opportunity to fight against WBC Champion. I don’t care whether it be Adonis Stevenson or another guy. I don’t care. Right now I am not even thinking about this because my next fight will be big fight and not an easy fight against Nadjib Mohammedi. I think so enough to say. Thank you very much again.”

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Nadjib Mohammedi: “For me is big opportunity. My first time in USA just one years now. I respect Sergey Kovalev now is champion of light heavyweight but I don’t come here for joke or for play or for game. I want be world champion. I work with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear for this. I am not stupid. I know what you think about me. I am not naïve. This fight is very, very difficult for me but I say it is very difficult for Sergey. It is not difficult just for me because I am very smarter, I am faster.

“On 25 of July I am ready with my team, I am ready for this fight. I am ready for Sergey. I am the new generation of light heavyweight because I don’t want the same fight of another opponent. Thank you very much to Kathy Duva, my promoter. Thank you very much my team. Thank you very much my co-managers, Vince Caruso and Jon Ali. Thank you, Abel Sanchez. I will see you 25 of July for the big fight. I promise you this is a big, big fight. Thank you very much.”

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Main Events Promoter Kathy Duva: “Less than two years ago Sergey Kovalev was a struggling fighter trying to make a name for himself. Since then he has fought on HBO six times. He is about to go into his seventh fight on HBO. He has become, not just the light heavyweight champion of the world, but he has unified three of the light heavyweight titles. Last year he was named the fighter of the year by Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, The New York Post, USA Today, SherDog and UCN Live. Some of you are here today and thank you so much. It I a hell of an accomplishment to be the Fighter of the Year, you can’t do that every year, no matter who you are. To go from being completely unknown to being the man in the light heavyweight division in less than two years is a remarkable accomplishment.

“I don’t think any of us would be here without the support of the fine people at HBO. Today I get to proudly announce that Sergey Kovalev gets to remain with HBO, the company that has taken him this far. It is his intention and our intention to remain with HBO for the rest of his career, if that is possible. This is the company that has led boxing for the last 30 odd years in this country. It is unquestionably the #1 boxing network in the world. It is the place to be if you want to have a high-profile career in this sport and maintain it for a long time.

“About a year ago Nadjib Mohammedi came to the United States for the first time. He earned his shot at a title by becoming the #1 contender. He has worked hard over the last year to maintain that position and prepare himself for the opportunity to fight for the world title. Now he gets the privilege of fighting for all three of those belts.

“Now that Sergey has moved to the west coast and has made a home for himself and his family here in Los Angeles we are moving his home base. I had a lovely meeting with Richard Sturm at MGM a few weeks ago and he confirmed to me that MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay want to be in the Sergey Kovalev business. As I see a vacuum opening up in Vegas for big names I think Sergey Kovalev is the kind of guy who can step in there and fill that vacuum. His fights are electrifying and exciting and thrilling. That is what boxing fans should expect when they put their money down to come and see a fight.

“Main Events has a great history with Mandalay Bay which is one of the best facilities in the country, in the world. On a personal note it is great to be going back there. We brought Fernando Vargas there years ago and had some great, great nights there and some great, great memories there. We are going to make some new ones now. It is a new beginning. It is a new beginning with HBO. It is a new beginning with Mandalay Bay. Yet it all feels very familiar because this was the same team that was making Fernando one of the biggest box office attractions in the country.

“Peter Nelson from HBO is not here because of your famous LA traffic but if he were here he would tell you that the event will start at 10:00 PM on July 25 on HBO. There will be a co-feature and we are still working on what that is going to be and we will announce that when we know. The tickets will be going on sale next week and will be priced very affordably for the fans from $25 up to $300. We want to fill up the room. We want to encourage the true boxing fans. Something that I noticed when I went to the big fight a few weeks ago at MGM that the crowd was missing the true fight fans but I want to see those people come out for this fight. Those fans will be very pleased. I have had the great pleasure to be ringside a number of times for Sergey’s fights and it is thrilling.

“This will be a 12-round fight for the WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Championships. It is an IBF mandatory bout. Sergey is 27-0-1 with 24 knockouts from Russia and Nadjib is 37-3, with 23 knockouts from France.

“To Vince’s point, that is one of the things that is great about boxing, everybody has a story. Everybody has been through adversity. If not for miracles I think everyone standing on this dais, myself included, would not be standing here right now. I think that is part of what keeps this sport alive and is what makes it so compelling is the stories behind everybody. The truth is Nadjib came here last June as an opponent basically. He came here and won a fight he wasn’t expected to win; he earned his place and has worked for a long time with Abel Sanchez. He has taken advantage of this time to work with a great trainer in Abel Sanchez and believe me we are very well aware of it. With an awkward style and a great trainer, his great heart and drive that this is not going to be an easy night for anybody.

“Having said that, Sergey Kovalev is something very special, we all know that. To me he is exactly what boxing is supposed to be, somebody who goes out there and gives their all gives 1,000% every time. He keeps the crowd entertained. He keeps the fight exciting. He makes it fun to be there. That is why we tend to focus on him and his future. We don’t mean it as an insult to anybody. That is what we have, it is called a star.”

Kovalev Manager Egis Klimas: “Good afternoon everybody. Thanks for coming for this press conference in the beautiful city of Los Angeles. Thank you Kathy [Duva]. She is doing a very good job. When I brought Sergey to Kathy a couple of years ago at that point nobody knew him. Some people knew Kovalev in boxing but not much and not like he is known today.

“Vince [Caruso] was talking about how we have not seen bad days in Sergey’s career but I would say it is completely the opposite. I brought Sergey in 2009 from Russia I put him in Don Turner training camp in North Carolina which is in the middle of nowhere. The closest store is about five miles away. All around there are corn fields, bugs, bears, snakes and he stayed where Don had built his boxing gym. At that time I had many fighters going to that camp and besides Sergey and Gradovich I would say the longest somebody was there was like three months before they would call me and tell me they were done. They would go to New York or Chicago and today they are nobody and I have not even heard about them. Some are taxi drivers now but this gentleman stayed there and didn’t complain a single word for a year and a half.

“I used to go to Don’s camp, me and Don would jump in a van and drive around the country just to get the fights. I saw big talent and Don Turner saw big talent in him but I could not convince any of the promoters. I talked to Top Rank. I talked to Golden Boy. I talked to Lou DiBella. I talked to everybody about giving him a chance until one day Don Turner introduced me to Kathy see said she would try and see what is going to happen.

“The biggest fight that we had in our career was Darnell Boone. Sergey wasn’t ready for it so it went all eight rounds and was not a good fight. Main Events asked me how I felt about fighting Darnell Boone again. I thought Sergey was no going to like that. I called Sergey and I told him, he said he it was great and he wanted to do that. He said, ‘I want to see how I improved from almost two years past. That’s a fight I want.’ That was when I realized I really had a good fighter here with a good heart. Of course the second time he did a great job with Darnell Boone. It was two rounds. He was a completely different guy. He was on TV. He was on the big stage. He has had hard times.

“I want to thank HBO for giving us this very good opportunity for the rest of his career. I wanted to thank again Kathy and Mandalay Bay for having us there. Don’t miss fight on July 25.”

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Mohammedi Co-Manager Vince Caruso: “There is not much to say when you fight the #1 guy. Whether I like him or not Sergey Kovalev is the #1 guy in boxing today, especially after what we saw two weeks ago I would say he is undoubtedly #1. He is the top tier. He is a very bad dude and we are going in there with that in mind.

“I am not going to get up here and say that Nadjib is going to come in there and do this or we are guaranteeing a win. You can’t guarantee anything in this business. The only thing I can guarantee you is that on the 25th of July Nadjib Mohammedi is going to make the 175 pound contracted weight limit, that will be a guarantee. #2 he is going to come in there with a game plan that if he does execute and he does listen to Abel Sanchez, his trainer, he has a very good shot at winning this fight. Because even though Sergey might be stronger, and he might be bigger, and he might have been on the big stage a lot more than Nadjib has, there is one thing that I believe we have the edge in, and that is desire.

“When you have been held down your whole life, your whole career, a career that started in 2005, and you have to fight in rooms that are smaller than this, with no TV coverage, no press, that is hard times. I don’t think Sergey Kovalev goes through hard times. Nadjib Mohammedi has gone through hard times. He came to Big Bear before his fight on the Hopkins-Kovalev undercard back in November. His trainer that he has been with for 14 years got detained at the airport and could not get in for that fight. So me and his co-manager, Jon Ali, had to figure out who was going to work the corner. Sullivan Barrera, our friend who is also here today, was on that card already and he was working with Abel Sanchez. I have always said after I watched Nadjib on June 21st of last year, that he is the perfect style fighter for Abel Sanchez’s training methods. He fights that Mexican style. He is a straight-ahead blood and guts fighter. There is nothing really special about him. His strength is his heart. Show me a guy with heart who is sick and tired of being broke and sick and tired of getting the short end of the deal and I am going to show you a winner. Nothing ever lifts adrenaline more than the desire to change your life. That is what we need to look at going in against this guy because he is a killer. He is #1, the big cheese. That is what we want. We want high risk because we want high reward.

“With all due respect to Kathy, she talks about all these great future plans she has with Kovalev but I would have waited until this Mohammedi fight was in the books before you made any long term plans. I know nobody gives us a chance and he is probably a 15-1 underdog. We are the dog but everybody on this team has overcome something. This guy has overcome the temptations of the mafia-ridden streets of France. He went into the food business and took care of his mother and his brothers and his sister. He worked hard. He wanted to become a professional fighter. He is here. Jon Ali, my co-manager, is a professional singer. He is a great pop singer and that is why he is not here today. 11 years ago I was a junkie and I was in a Las Vegas rehab. I never thought I would be on the big stage again but I am. This team has a lot of desire. We are going to win this fight and we are going to win it with heart.”

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/kovalev-mohammedi-kickoff-press-conference-291330

 

Photos: Kovalev, Agnew Face To Face at Final Presser

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Photos by Rich Graessle/Main Events –

Atlantic City, NJ: Today amidst all the press about a potential fight with Adonis Stevenson, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KOs) faced the media and his opponent Cedric “L.O.W.” Agnew (26-0-0, 13 KOs) at Caesars to discuss the fight in front of them Saturday night at the Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall and live on HBO Boxing After Dark.

Main Events’ CEO Kathy Duva started things off reminiscing about her experiences at Boardwalk Hall with the late great Arturo Gatti, “We are very pleased to be back here in Atlantic City, NJ. The last time we were at Boardwalk Hall was seven years ago when Arturo Gatti last fought at Boardwalk Hall against Alfonso Gomez. If these walls could talk… Now we have a fight worthy of the house that Gatti built. Ken Condon is the reason that boxing is in Atlantic City and it is wonderful to be here.”

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Ken Condon, entertainment and sports consultant to Caesars AC said, “It is a pleasure to have Kathy and Main Events back in Atlantic City. It brings back a lot of great memories. She continues her commitment to Atlantic City boxing and so does Caesars. We are looking forward to a great weekend in Atlantic City. We are looking forward to welcoming Sergey and Cedric to Atlantic City. We have very few tickets left so I wouldn’t wait until Saturday to try to get them because they will probably be sold out by then. We look forward to creating a great relationship with Sergey Kovalev and HBO going forward.”

Duva also addressed questions about why Kovalev is fighting on HBO. She said, “Sergey Kovalev is fighting on HBO because it is the network of champions. HBO is the network that built each and every legendary fighter in the last 30 years. In the United States during the last 30 years no superstar has been built on any other network. Sergey’s plan is to become a legend. That is why he is fighting on HBO.”

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Peter Nelson, director of programming, HBO Sports said, “We are very excited to have this event on HBO. We are always pleased to be back in Atlantic City. Boardwalk Hall is the home of many storied fights and Saturday we plan add another fight to that collection. These are the types of fighters HBO loves. It isn’t easy to find people who will step up and fight Sergey. This is Sergey’s debut on the network in a main event. We believe there is going to be a lot of action which will lead to big things down the road.”

Kathy Duva said it is usually difficult to find opponents for Sergey but it was not difficult with Cedric Agnew. She said, “On Saturday, Sergey will fight an undefeated fighter who asked for this fight. Clearly he has a lot of courage. I have always respected a fighter with that attitude.”

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Cedric’s promoter Malcolm Garrett of Garrett Promotions said, “We are ecstatic to be here. This is a fight this kid wanted. This is a fight he plans to win. We are glad that everyone in the media, and hopefully Kovalev, have overlooked him. I know Cedric can’t wait for the fight to begin. Cedric has trained hard and is the hardest working fighter I have ever worked with.”

Cedric “L.O.W.” Agnew said, “Everyone who knows me knows I am very quiet. I would like to thank HBO for this opportunity and my team for helping me prepare for this fight. I am ready to go out there and show the world what I am capable of. And show the naysayers what I am capable of. There are always going to be naysayers out there and people who overlook me. I say nothing to them and I will keep doing what I am doing. Saturday I need to fight smart and always be the smartest fighter in the ring. Sergey is a pretty good fighter. He is a tough guy. He is a world champion. He earned that spot. Come Saturday night I will earn mine.”

Kovalev’s manager Egis Klimas reminisced about the path he took with Sergey to get here, “Sergey and I have been down a very long road and it wasn’t easy. When Sergey came from Russia he didn’t speak a word of English. Our relationship is more than just manager-fighter. He is like my son. I took him all over the country to get him any fight we could. At that time nobody wanted him. Then I brought him to Main Events and they took the opportunity. Since then we have had a good relationship with Main Events. They did a very good job to get us here. This is our first main event on HBO. I wanted to thank Cedric’s team for taking this opportunity. I wanted to thank Sergey who trusted in me for all those years when I told him to be patient and that one day we would get here. Finally we are here with Main Events on HBO in Atlantic City. Saturday night do not reach for the popcorn or go for a beer during this fight because you can miss it.”

Krusher’s trainer, John David Jackson, kept Sergey focused these last few months while he trained for this fight. He said, “I want to thank everyone at Main Events, they are a first class company. It is great to be back here at Caesars. I appreciate all that they are doing for us. This is an intriguing fight. I take my hat off to Cedric for taking the fight because a lot of fighters talk a big game but when it comes down to it they don’t want to fight Sergey. We are not overlooking him at all. He is the present and we are not looking over him. We have to get passed him to get to the next phase in Sergey’s career. Sergey has great boxing skills but we won’t know if he will ever get to use them. Sergey is one of the hardest working guys I have ever worked with. It is a great night of boxing. Expect a great evening of boxing all around.”

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev said, “I am not a talker but I just want to say stay tuned and don’t miss HBO Saturday night. I will try to make a good fight. Thank you to Cedric Agnew for agreeing to fight with me. Thank you to Kathy Duva and HBO. I don’t have any predictions for this fight. He is an undefeated guy and so am I. He has big motivation. He is on HBO and it is a title fight. I am going to do my job. Short fights are the result of my job and my work in the gym. I am only boxing. I go into the ring to show good boxing. I want to show the people what they want to see in the ring from me.”

When asked about the Adonis Stevenson situation, Sergey laughed and said, “I never go into the ring thinking about someone else. I want to say good luck to Adonis is in his career but someday he will meet my punch. We will talk about it after the fight.”

Finally, Duva discussed the undercard fights, “The undercard is loaded with tremendous fights if you can make it to Boardwalk Hall. We are going to have a group of fighters whose combined records are: 91-11 (64 KOs) vs. 76-5 (42 KOs). I would also like to thank our sponsors Caesars AC, Do AC and Khortitsia Vodka.”

http://www.boxingscene.com/photos-kovalev-agnew-face-face-final-presser–76086

Lomachenko’s Manager on Career, Future Big Fights

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By Alexey Sukachev –

Rising manager Egis Klimas spoke to BoxingScene.com about the diamond in his boxing stable, two-time Olympic gold medal winner Vasyl Lomachenko (1-0, 1KO). The boxer will go for a world title in only his second pro fight, when he challenges WBO featherweight champion Orlando Salido on March 1.

– Vasyl Lomachenko is the jewel of your stable and a two-time Olympic gold medalist. He debuted with an eye-catching win of Jose Ramirez in October. Has he exceeded your expectations, or equaled them?

– He is so special. The plan was to box with Ramirez, to go the distance with him in the first pro fight, maybe all ten rounds to show Vasyl’s skills and abilities. But that’s boxing. He threw a punch – it was natural – his opponent went down and out. For me, personally, it was a much more interesting turn of events.

Vasya dropped his opponent, made it look spectacular. He looked great. In the third, he landed a picturesque combo on Ramirez with such an ease, that it was astounding. He cut off the ring perfectly, he showed technique. Then he landed that punch. What are boxing fans waiting and looking for in a fight?

– I suppose, knockout is the right answer?

– Absolutely. And he delivered it. Had he danced with that Mexican for all ten rounds – I’ll tell you – someone would have certainly said how dull that fight was. Psychology. Like people say of [Guillermo] Rigondeaux. A great boxer? Yes! One you will pay to watch? Nah…

I’m totally delighted with the outcome of the fight. Lomachenko is a unique product, a special fighter. Not only me but also Bob Arum – we think he has a PPV future ahead of him. His first fight was PPV, despite him being a foreigner. His second fight will be PPV as well. People will pay to watch him.

– With all due respect to Vasily, his first fight wasn’t a complete blowout. He had marks on his face. He missed some punches, and he got hit by Ramirez.

– I’ve reviewed tapes of Ramirez fight. That bruise – it has come from a headbutt rather than from a punch. On one hand, it doesn’t matter – you should look after all the details while in ring. You should be ready for everything, including fouls and dirty tactics. On the other hand, that’s boxing.

I don’t think it is what we should worry about. You get hit in boxing. It’s not a ballet, it’s a tough game. But you should eat one to answer with a multi-punch combination, and it makes for a crowd-pleasing fighter, one who will be beloved. Much more dangerous are heavy blows, and we shall control that.

– Who has made Vasily such a great boxer he is?

– His father. Anatoly Nikolayevich [Lomachenko] made Vasya so great. 95% of Lomachenko is his father, who has prepared an absolute fight machine. His knowledge is great, his connection with his son is perfect.

– Anatoly Lomachenko is a great amateur coach. Perception is he doesn’t have full knowledge of the pro game yet. What can be done to strengthen Team Lomachenko? Can Vasily make a transition to a pro trainer from his father? Will it affect him?

– I saw many examples of that kind in boxing, when father trains his son. Shane Mosley, Nathan Cleverly, Roy Jones and so on. My perception always was like: “Nah, he will run into it, shouting, making an unnecessary fuss in the corner – we don’t need that. A father shouldn’t be a trainer”. In the case of the Lomachenko family, it’s different, and I feel cutting down this connection will cut off Vasyl’s pro future.

Anatoly Lomachenko is such a knowledgeable guy. He analyzes, he studies fights and boxing trends. Everything he says… it makes sense. And Vasily trusts him fully… But when they came to America, Papa Lomachenko himself asked us to find a pro coach with a great understanding of prizefighting to help them, to make their team stronger. It’s not just words. He can speak but he can also listen to.

Team Lomachenko is very strong. We’ve brought in rising coach Joey Gamache, a two-time world champion himself to the camp. Gamache is a very promising young coach, who was refined by the late great Emanuel Steward. He also works as a cutman. We also have a specific conditioning trainer and a speed-developing guru, who help us. Both Vasily and Anatoly accepted these newcomers.

FUTURE OF LOMACHENKO

– On March 1 he battles ultra-tough veteran champion Orlando Salido (40-12-2, 28 KOs) for the WBO title. If he is successful…

– Not “if”. When he is successful (smiles).

– Yes, when he is successful… Okay. I feel that questions about the Salido fight are worthless now. So when he is past Salido, I assume, only big-time fights and only stars will be on his mind. And if not stars then at least, other champions in the featherweight division. One of them is Gradovich. Is there a chance for that fight – between Gradovich and Lomachenko, both being managed by you and promoted by Top Rank?

– Of course, I don’t want this fight to happen. I’m against it. But that is the sport. If this fight comes along, we shall do it. Maybe I shall not be present at the arena for that show, so I don’t show any signs of support and sympathy for both of them. I’ll stay at home, popcorn in my hand (smiles), watching it by TV.

Friends clash against each other in the ring. Once, in 1955, there was a fight for the Soviet championship, when the two best Lithuanian fighters Algirdas Šocikas and Richardas Juškenas, who were also close friends, collided in the final. Richardas Juškenas is my father-in-law. And Šocikas asked: “What shall we do, Richardas”, while Juškenas answered: “What can we do? What shall we do? We should fight!” They fought, and Juškenas won…

One manager and one promoter – that is an intra-team fight, which is always possible. A more recent sample: Orlando Salido defeated Orlando Cruz – both were promoted by Top Rank. Yes, Lomachenko vs. Gradovich is surely possible.

– People say Rigondeaux is who you should fight next after Salido (not saying if) is done with. What do you think?

– It’s possible. Why not? I don’t feel Vasya isn’t ready – he is. But Rigondeaux should move up in weight to 126 lbs for this fight to happen. In one of his interviews, the Cuban master asked for a catchweight. It doesn’t make sense. Vasyl will not drain down to 122 lbs. That’s highly unlikely. If Team Rigondeaux wants that fight, go up in weight, and we shall be here.

– What a fight that would be? Will it be interesting to watch two prime (and, in my mind, still) amateurs in the prize ring?

– Guillermo [Rigondeaux] isn’t fun to watch – that’s true. His latest fights were disastrous – from that standpoint. Of course, he is a unique boxer; he moves perfectly, he is untouchable; he is a perfect product for an extreme hardcore purist. Sadly [for them], boxing is made for fans. It’s hard to find many, boxing the way Rigondeaux boxes.

Rigondeaux is not what HBO, what TV channels need from boxing. What they need is fights like James Kirkland vs. Glen Tapia, like Matt Korobov’s latest outing. Yes, Korobov was badly shaken, but he weathered the storm and knocked his opponent out. Ruslan Provodnikov – wow! What fights he has brought on the table.

Frankly, I don’t want this fight. Just because the Cuban fighter is capable of jinxing any fight against any fighter. He would run much, tip-tap – then jump out on the distance and run around. People will start quitting the arena after five to six rounds of such a horrible “blockbuster”. Who needs that? But if the offer is there, we should certainly weigh-in all the options and discuss it within our Team. We don’t rule this fight out.

http://www.boxingscene.com/lomachenkos-manager-on-career-future-big-fights–73405

Kovalev: If Stevenson’s A Real Fighter, He’ll Fight Me

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By Keith Idec

Sergey Kovalev wants to fight Adonis Stevenson next, but the unbeaten Russian realizes Stevenson doesn’t share his desire to make a unification fight between the hard-hitting light heavyweight champions.

If Canada’s Stevenson changes his mind, Kovalev wouldn’t waste any time signing a contract.

“We can fight, but it’s up to him,” Kovalev told BoxingScene.com. “That question has to be posed to Stevenson, not to me. He probably doesn’t want to fight me, but if we fought it would be a great fight.”

HBO Sports executives showcased Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KOs) and Stevenson (23-1, 20 KOs) in separate bouts Nov. 30 in Quebec City to build momentum toward an eventual Kovalev-Stevenson showdown. Both boxers scored impressive knockouts that night, but Stevenson scoffed at the suggestion of a looming Kovalev clash.

Before the powerful southpaw stopped England’s Tony Bellew (20-2-1, 12 KOs) in the sixth round and Kovalev knocked out Ukraine’s Ismayll Sillakh (21-2, 17 KOs) in the second round last month, Stevenson told BoxingScene.com that Kovalev needs to beat better boxers before he’d consider Kovalev a worthy adversary. The Haitian-born Stevenson noted that he is a much bigger draw than Kovalev as well.

Kovalev, who dismissed Stevenson’s criticism of his resume, considers Stevenson’s supposed disinterest as a negotiating ploy.

“He just wants to get more money,” Kovalev said. “But if he’s a real fighter, he’ll fight me. I’m not going to say, ‘Give me more money, more money, more money.’ I want good money, too, but I’m ready to fight him right now.”

Even if Stevenson’s interest intensifies, the 30-year-old Kovalev won’t wait around for the WBC light heavyweight champion. His handlers plan to schedule at least four fights for Kovalev in 2014 and want the WBO 175-pound champion’s first fight of the year to take place as soon as possible.

“We’re not going to chase Stevenson,” said Egis Klimas, Kovalev’s manager. “Other opportunities are going to come up for us to fight other guys, just like what happened with Bernard Hopkins and [Nathan] Cleverly. We had a mandatory [against Hopkins], but Hopkins was going back and forth, trying to put unification fights together, and he never answered us.

“Then the opportunity came up to fight Cleverly and we fought Cleverly. We didn’t care. This is the same thing with Stevenson. If he doesn’t want to fight, we’re not going to wait. If another opportunity comes up for us to fight, we’re not going to wait.”

http://www.boxingscene.com/kovalev-if-stevensons-real-fighter-hell-fight-me–73227

Kovalev Mocks Stevenson: “Call Me Kryptonite Kovalev”

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By Ryan Burton

WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (23-0-1, 21KOs) continues to hold out hope that he will be able to unify titles with WBC light heavyweight champion Andonis Stevenson.

The two fighters fought on the same card on November 30th in Quebec City, Canada. Kovalev stopped Ismayl Sillakh in two rounds while Stevenson stopped Tony Bellew in six. Kovalev fought in the co-featured fight and said that he made a point to watch Stevenson’s fight which immediately followed.

“He did a good job but I didn’t see anything special. He calls himself Superman,” Kovalev said with a smile.

Kovalev’s manager Egis Klimas said that effective immediately they have a new nickname for Kovalev.

“We are changing Sergey’s nickname. Instead of Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev it is going to be Sergey “Kryptonite” Kovalev,” Klimas told BoxingScene.com.

Klimas also said that Kovalev will remain inn the light heavyweight division for the foreseeable future. He said Kovalev doesn’t have any problems making weight so there is no reason to move up.

“I am comfortable at 175. I make the weight easy,” Kovalev stated.

“He will fight any cruiserweight at 175 though,” Klimas chimed in.

 http://www.boxingscene.com/kovalev-mocks-stevenson-call-me-kryptonite-kovalev—72933

Photos: Sergey Kovalev vs. Ilshat Khusnulgatin in Camp

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By Reynaldo Sanchez –

WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1, 20KOs) is training hard for his upcoming first defense of the title against dangerous top contender Ismayl Sillakh (21-1, 17KOs), scheduled for November 30th at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City. The fight will be televised by HBO. Kovalev put in some sparring work against undefeated prospect Ilshat Khusnulgatin (11-0, 6KOs). Both boxers are promoted by Main Events and managed by Egis Klimas.

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http://www.boxingscene.com/photos-sergey-kovalev-vs-ilshat-khusnulgatin-camp–71400

Team Kovalev Plans Huge Homecoming With Ryabinskiy

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Russian real estate and now boxing tycoon Andrey Ryabinskiy continues to shake the world with his ambitious projects. This time Ryabinskiy, the man behind the biggest heavyweight fight in years between world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin, has targeted another big fish.

“I’ve met tonight with Andrey in his office”, confirmed Egis Klimas to BoxingScene.com. “He is very interested in Sergey Kovalev. We had a great talk, and possibilities are very high that we should set something up here in Russia, Sergey’s homeland”.

“No solid dates or opponents but Mr. Ryabinskiy is very positive on bringing Kovalev back to Russia – not even for a megafight but for several very big events. It might very well be a continuous relationship, which can start as early as the beginning of the next year”, continued Klimas. “I was impressed with the way Andrey tries to change the Russian pugilistic landscape – that’s truly amazing”.

What about HBO and Main Events, which acts as Kovalev’s promoter. “Hands down, Main Events is our chief promoter and we are very interested in HBO as well. I think, however, that things can be worked out for Sergey to make Russia his primary stage. HBO will televise the Povetkin fight, and I’m pretty much ensured it’ll be interested in covering Sergey’s fights as well”.

What is about Kovalev’s next fight and the opponent. “We’ve got some plans and some candidates but nothing is solidified yet. We tend to fight next in America but we keep Russia in mind as well”, said Klimas.

Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1, 20 KOs) is the WBO light heavyweight world champion, putting his frightening mixture of skills and chilling punching power on display on Aug. 17 against Nathan Cleverly, whom he has knocked out in four rounds.

http://www.boxingscene.com/team-kovalev-plans-huge-homecoming-with-ryabinskiy–69748

Team Kovalev Ready for Cleverly

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By John DiSanto – PhillyBoxingHistory.com
Photo: Gary Purfield –

Sergey Kovalev (21-0-1, 19 KOs), gets his first crack at a world title this Saturday when he meets Nathan Cleverly (26-0, 12 KOs), for the WBO light heavyweight title in a 12-round fight at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales. The fight appears to be an interesting boxer vs. puncher matchup between two unbeaten pros, and will be televised by HBO in a delayed broadcast (9:45PM Eastern). The stakes in the fight are high, given that the winner could be propelled into some very big opportunities with the stars of the 175-pound division. We caught up with Kovalev and his trainer John David Jackson by phone for the Q&A session.

How are things going in camp now that you are in the UK?

John David Jackson: This is our first week (here), but on fight night it will be two weeks total. Camp was good. Sergey is a professional and he’s already in shape when he gets to camp. That always makes it easier for us to do what we have to do and prepare for the fight.

Sergey Kovalev: It looks like we’ve already adjusted to the time zone. I can’t wait until Saturday to get on with it.

In June you won the IBF eliminator and became the #1 contender for Bernard Hopkins’ IBF Title, but jumped instead to this fight with Cleverly for the WBO title. Why?

Sergey Kovalev: The whole team, myself, the promoter Main Events, and my manager Egis Klimas, wasn’t sure the fight with Hopkins would ever happen. Because he can take a fight, he cannot take a fight. He might just fight somebody else. So chasing Hopkins would probably be a mistake. Instead of accepting a fight with Cleverly, which was already 100% confirmed.

John David Jackson: The Hopkins fight was a bigger, but who’s to say that fight would even happen at all. So the chance came for this fight, and his management thought it was the right time to take it. We took it and here we are.

What do you know about Cleverly’s style?

John David Jackson: I watched as much tape on Cleverly as I could. I had watched him previously because there was a time when he and Bernard (Hopkins) were going to fight. [Note: Jackson was Hopkins’ trainer for a period.] So I watched him. I’m not underestimating him, but he just does not impress me. He’s not a bad fighter. He’s not super quick, he’s not super slick, he’s not super strong. He just does things almost fundamentally well. There’s a lot of flaws in his game. So basically we have to expose the weaknesses that he has and capitalize on those. And snuff out his strengths, which are a decent jab, stamina, he’s able to throw a lot of punches during the fight. That’s pretty much what I see from this kid.

There has been a lot of talk out of the Cleverly camp.

John David Jackson: If you listen to him and his father talk, they are going to knock Sergey out in the first eight rounds, but you can’t bring a handgun in against an army. And that’s generally what he has. His clip is half loaded. So he’s in trouble right away. He has to be a real good boxer to really frustrate and avoid Sergey. Can he box? Yes. Is he a great boxer? No. He’s a very good boxer. If you don’t have the power to get the other man’s respect, you’re in trouble. And if he tries to slug, that’s right down our alley. If he goes against the grain and tries to do what he doesn’t do really well, then he’s putting himself in the lion’s den and in the line of fire. Either way, we see a victory by knockout or by decision.

What concerns do you have about the fight?

John David Jackson: I’m not underestimating him. He’s champion for a reason. He won it and he earned it. So we definitely have to give him the respect outside the ring beforehand. But once that bell rings, all respect leaves.

Are you concerned about fighting in Cleverly’s home country?

Sergey Kovalev: Not at all. No concerns. Absolutely not.

John David Jackson: I doubt it will affect Sergey at all. I don’t think the fans are going to bother him. All the singing and chanting (by the fans) doesn’t matter because Sergey doesn’t understand English well. So what does he care what they sing about? I doubt that the crowd will be a factor for him. All he sees is the opponent across the ring.

Kovalev is a puncher and Cleverly is a boxer. How do you think the fight will play out?

Sergey Kovalev: I am a boxer as well. I can box. I’m going to try to give him the best fight possible, and if I see an opportunity to knock him down, I will knock him down.

Do you think you will have to chase him?

Sergey Kovalev: Yes, I think he will try to run.

So how will you deal with that?

Sergey Kovalev: That’s my key on how I’m going to win the fight. So I’m not willing to discuss that right now.

This is your first world title fight. Does it feel any different? Are you nervous?

Sergey Kovalev: Before every single bout, I still have sports nervousness. Today I don’t feel any different from any other fight.

If you win this fight and become champion, there will be many big fights in your future, Hopkins, Stevenson, etc. Is there anyone you are looking forward to fighting after Cleverly?

Sergey Kovalev: I’m not thinking about that. Right now I’m thinking about Cleverly and fighting on Saturday night. That’s all that’s on my mind. I’ll think about that after the fight.

But light heavyweight is a good division to be in, right?

Sergey Kovalev: In the first place, I feel as though I’ve brought the division up. But yes, there are a lot of good fighters and challengers in the division.

John David Jackson: He stacks up well (against the other light heavyweights). When you talk about Hopkins, you’re talking about an old fighter. Hopkins has been beating these guys, but these guys aren’t smart fighters as of late. The last kid he beat, Cloud, didn’t even show up for that fight. He didn’t cut the ring off. He just followed an old man around the ring, and Bernard did what he wanted to do. You can’t let Bernard do that to you. Stevenson is dangerous. I trained Stevenson for a while. He’s very dangerous, but he’s lacking in basic fundamentals and defense. And his chin is suspect. So that would be a big fight down the road if Stevenson can stay champion for a while. But right now, let the pot simmer. There are plenty of good fights out there for him, but let’s get past Saturday. Then the door will open wide for him, and his management can make the fights for him to make the big money he deserves to make.

After your last fight you said you wanted your next fight to be on HBO against one of the champions. How does it feel now that that is happening?

Sergey Kovalev: My wishes came true.

Does it feel like this fight for the championship is coming at the right time for you?

John David Jackson: The timing is right. It’s become harder and harder to find opponents for Sergey. So when the chance for a world title comes, why not take it? So this one came at the right time for him. He’s ready for it now and he wants it. So it all played out well.

Sergey Kovalev: I’ve been waiting for this kind of fight for a long time. I went through all that, and right now I’m already in a place to show my boxing skills and show what I can do best.

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/team-kovalev-ready-for-cleverly-218908