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/

Q&A: Sergey Kovalev

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Photos: Craig Bennett/Main Events

Yesterday, WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) held an open workout for members of the media in advance of his upcoming “Pound For Pound” showdown on November 19 against Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View. Also in attendance were Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stevens (28-5, 21 KOs) who will take on James “The King” De La Rosa (23-4, 13 KOs) for the WBA Continental Americas Middleweight Title and Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk (11-0, 9 KOs) who will face Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (24-4-2, 10 KOs) for the NABF Light Heavyweight Title on the Kovalev-Ward HBO Pay-Per-View telecast.

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Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev:
 “I’m excited and everything is going good. I’m waiting for this day, November 19, and I am ready to fight.”

“I don’t have anything personal about him (Ward). I should to win this fight, I only have to prove (to) myself who I am. I am fighting for me first of all, and after this really for boxing fans. This is my boxing career since 11 years old and right now Andre Ward (is) in my way. And he wants to get my titles but I’m still alive.” 

“I don’t have any plans for each fight, just get into the ring and do my job. I must be ready for everything what he (Ward) will bring.”

“I got some experience from my fight against Bernard Hopkins. He showed that never give up. That you should to fight all 12 rounds and hope for your win.”

Question: Do you expect Andre Ward will hold you and use his head?

“Yes I think he will use it and I am ready for this too. It will be wrestling and not fight [laughs].”

“I think he (Ward) will look much better in my fight November 19 because he long time didn’t fight, couple years he had a rest and Sullivan Barrera was first fight when he returned. And with Alexander Brand he was better than against Sullivan Barrera. I accept that he’s going to look much better November 19. In best shape.”

“John (David Jackson) just gives me freedom to do what I want, what I would like to do. You know, just like adjust some things and advice between rounds about technique. Working a lot with mitts. I like work with him and feel comfortable.”

“I don’t think that Andre Ward (will) let me use a lot of body shots because he has great legs and a lot of movements. You know he’s very smart. And I think first part of this fight is going to be a lot mentally, but I should prove that I’m Krusher and that I’m going to do my job. He’s going to do his job, me to do my job.”

“I think my last fight against Chilemba, it was like a similar fight you know, because Chilemba’s a little bit style as Andre Ward. But Andre Ward is Andre Ward, a little bit different and stronger, smarter, undefeated and more motivated than Chilemba. I’m interested what he will bring November 19 to the ring.”

“We agreed two fights before our fight. I was ready last year to fight, but Andre wasn’t ready to fight without two fights at light heavyweight. We sign agreement that two more fights and then let’s fight in 2016.”

“I work out morning time. After this some massage therapy, some treatments, after this some rest, little bit nap, cook the food, take a rest and go again to work out. Today two work outs, this was just the first. My plan was a little broke today because usually my first workout is morning time, but right now already almost 3pm. My interview is a workout [laughs].

 

 

Kovalev defeats Chilemba, retains 175lb titles

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Photos: Alexandr Safonov/Championat.com

WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) defended his title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (24-4-2, 10 KOs) on Monday night at the DIVS Palace of Sports in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Kovalev pressed the action, while Chilemba looked to frustrate and avoid exchanges. Difficult fight for the champion until late in round seven, when Kovalev dropped Chilemba with a crushing right hand. Chilemba survived the round. Kovalev rocked Chilemba again in round eight. The pace then slowed down for the next several rounds, but Kovalev closed the show by punishing Chilemba in the last round. Scores were 117-110, 116-111, 118-109. Chilemba fought without trainer Buddy McGirt, who had visa problems. His corner was run by his manager Jodi Solomon, who is also one of the few female trainers.

Next up for Kovalev is likely a November showdown with Andre Ward, who must have been pleased with what he saw. Ward has a bout against Alexander Brand scheduled for August 6 in Oakland.

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www.fightnews.com/Boxing/kovalev-chilemba-result-is-in-345719/nggallery/page/3

Kovalev batters, stops Pascal

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By Dave Spencer –

In a grudge match for the unified light heavyweight world championship, WBA/IBF/WBO world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KOs) systematically demolished former world champion Jean Pascal (30-4-1, 17 KOs) over seven rounds on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Kovalev dropped Pascal with a jab in round one, but it was ruled a slip. “Krusher” then battered Pascal in every round. Freddie Roach finally pulled the plug after seven rounds of punishment.

http://fightnews.com/Boxing/kovalev-punishes-stops-pascal-323040

Kovalev “krushes” Mohammedi

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By Miguel Maravilla at ringside –
Photos: David Spagnolo / Main Events – John Locher, AP

Unbeaten WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (28-0-1, 25 KOs) destroyed IBF mandatory challenger Nadjib “Irondjib” Mohammedi (37-4, 23 KOs) on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, Las Vegas. 150:1 favorite Kovalev dropped Mohammedi with a series of right hands in round two and finished him with right/left combination in round three. Time was 2:38.

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/kovalev-krushes-mohammedi-299355

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

Kovalev-Mohammedi Kickoff Press Conference

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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

 

Kovalev Not Focused on KO, But Aims To ‘Crush’ Hopkins

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Photo by:  Sergey Kovalev/Hoganphotos –

Big Bear City, CA – As current WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev prepares for the fight of his life against Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins next month, he is on the precipice of a life-altering event as his wife, Natalya, is moments away from giving birth to their first child.

The Kovalevs are expecting their son any day now, with the official due date scheduled for October 17. Despite the stress and distractions that come with expectant-parenthood, the 31-year-old Kovalev assured everyone at his media day at Wolf Total Fitness in Big Bear City, Calif. yesterday that his focus is still fixated 100 percent on Hopkins, “I’m living for this fight. Only for this fight. I’m leaving for Florida when my [first] baby is due. I’ll be in training camp in Florida because this is the most important thing in my life right now.”

Sergey is scheduled to conclude his strength and conditioning training in Big Bear on October 9, then he will return to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to begin the sparring portion of his training with his trainer two-division world champion John David Jackson. With this schedule, there is a very good chance he will not be with his wife in Los Angeles when she goes into labor.

“The doctor says my baby is due October 17, but also said that we can plan one week early because in the last week the baby will be one pound more so for my wife it will be harder,” explained Kovalev.

“Right now she’s very afraid she will stay alone in LA. She’s most worried that I won’t see him after [he is born] for one month. She says that for her it’s very important. I said, why? I will see a picture,” joked Kovalev. “I don’t understand yet, but maybe she is 100 percent right that I will see him Thursday and after that I will crush Hopkins. I need to see him first before I give him a name.”

Despite potentially missing out on the birth of his son, Kovalev feels training for this fight is the most important thing he can do for his new family, “I have in my body, I have in my face, I have in my mind, the motivation that I need to get this win because it’s my future.” He added, “My goal still is to be undisputed in this division. This fight is two more titles, it’s my goal. I want all four.”

Sergey knows he is facing no small feat in the 49-year old Hopkins, “Our styles are different. American and Russian boxers are from different boxing schools. Hopkins’ style is old school. He’s doing some things that nobody does. Nobody does it how he does it,” explained ‘The Krusher.’ “This fight for me will be a big test. Hopkins is very good fighter. He is a very tough fighter and very smart. It will be a very good fight. His defense is incredible too. We’re working on everything. I have prepared for twelve rounds because I understand his strategy, what he wants to do and we’ll be prepared for anything.”

Training camp always begins for Kovalev with strength and conditioning in Big Bear. “In Big Bear everything is close. Nobody can touch you, nobody can call you, nobody can disturb you – just you and your mind and your focus on the fight,” said Kovalev. “Big Bear helped me to be focused on my workout, on my job. Florida is boxing training camp. Only boxing, only sparring, not for physical training. Here [in Big Bear] is for strength and condition to be stronger in the ring.”

When asked about his strategy for Hopkins, Sergey said, “I don’t have any strategy. I just go into the fight. What will happen, will happen. I’m not scared to lose, I’m not scared to win. This is a sport. But Hopkins is a legend. He’s a professor of boxing. He’s a very proud man as a boxer. He’s very smart, he’s very technical. It will be very difficult to fight him and for me it will be very big test. I’m ready for any test in my life. I have prepared for this test.”

Sergey is known as “The Krusher” because of his uncanny ability to secure the knockout; 92 percent (23 of 25) of his victories have come via the stoppage. However, according to Kovalev, that is not his game plan going into each fight, “I don’t have a goal to knockout anybody. I just go into the ring and make a fight. When it happens, it’s good for me. Less work, less job in the ring, more happy and more happy for my fans. I don’t have a goal that I need to knock him out.” He added, “When you want to knockout somebody, you can’t do it because your opponent can see your punch. I just go in to do boxing.”

http://www.boxingscene.com/kovalev-not-focused-on-ko-aims-crush-hopkins–82812

Cedric Agnew: I am a great fighter!

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By Sam Geraci –

This Saturday, Cedric “L.O.W” Agnew (26-0, 13 KOs) of Chicago, IL, makes his television debut on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” when he challenges Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KOs) of Russia, for Kovalev’s WBO light heavyweight championship at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ. Although Agnew has never been televised, has faced limited or aging opposition and is challenging a man who considered by many to be the sport’s most feared puncher, Agnew remains steadfast in his assertions that he is a great fighter who will shock the boxing world on Saturday.

In the following interview, Agnew talks about his style, the Kovalev matchup, being a role model to black fighters in Chicago and whether or not he ever defeated WBA light heavyweight champion Beibut Shumenov as an amateur.

How do you feel before headlining an HBO event in your first televised bout?

I feel good. It is perfect timing in my career right now, and I am just excited about this whole experience.

What do you mean you are excited about this “whole experience?”

Just everything that came with it. Ya know, getting my name out there to people who didn’t know me and getting people to start noticing me.

How have you handled the press and have you enjoyed it?

It’s been good. I mean I’m not used to getting phone calls like everyday (laughs), but it’s been a good experience.

How has the press treated you?

They’ve been really good. They have been talking a lot about other fights, but I’m just staying focused and game. I try to answer all questions straightforward and honest.

Why did it take so long for you to get on television to get an opportunity like this?

I don’t know. I was offered fights, and I accepted them, but a lot of fights were supposed to happen but didn’t. You know how it is, but it’s the right time now.

What are some of the fights that you were offered but didn’t happen?

Well, they called us about an Andre Ward fight; they called us before about a Bernard Hopkins fight; and they called us for a Beibut Shumenov fight.

Did you accept all those fights?

We accept all big fights all the time.

Something that came out in the prefight hype was that you defeated Beibut Shumenov in the amateurs. Is that true?

I think I might have fought him in one of the dual competitions between USA and Kazakhstan, and if I fought him, I know I won because I never lost in a dual competition. You’d have to check to see if he competed.

In this big fight nearly all “experts” are picking Kovalev by knockout. What do you think of that?

(Laughs) Well, ya know, I don’t think about that too much. You’re gonna always have your naysayers out there who don’t know too much about one person but know one thing about the other person so they are gonna choose the other person. When Buster Douglas fought Tyson, there wasn’t too much known about Buster Douglas, and we all know what happened. It’s gonna happen again.

So what don’t the experts know about you?

I am a great fighter. Ya know, I mean, I am a well-rounded fighter. I can punch; I can box; I can brawl; I can bang; and I can move. Ya know, I’m fast and I have all the abilities.

As an amateur, you were known as a power puncher. Why so few knockouts as a pro?

In the amateurs, everyone you’re fighting wants to be someone. They are coming to fight, so you can stop someone like that, but when you’re coming into the pros, ya know, once the guy feels that he can’t defeat you, then he goes into survival mode. It’s kinda hard to try and knock people out who refuse to be knocked out while in survival mode.

Are you planning to knock out Kovalev?

(Laughs) I don’t go into any fight looking for a knockout, but if it comes, it comes.

Do you think you have the power to knock out Kovalev?

I have the power to knockout anybody in my weight division. This will be an exciting fight because he got a lot to prove and he got a lot to lose just like me. This is gonna be two guys looking to prove they are the best.

What skills are you going to use to “shock the world” as your trainer Bobby Benton recently said?

Just all the skills that I was blessed with, but most of all I am going to use my brain. I’m going to show people that somebody you don’t think can be defeated can be defeated.

How is your relationship with Bobby?

Seriously, we have a good relationship. This is the best training relationship I’ve ever had. Bobby’s a helluva trainer. We have a really strong bond together; he knows what’s good for you and bad.

Sam Colonna, who now trains Andrzej Fonfara and recently said in an interview that you have the best boxing abilities pound for pound today. How does it feel to get that support back home in Chicago and to know that you and your former stable mate are fighting two of the best light heavyweight champions in world?

It feels really good to know that we’ve come this far, and that I have a lot of support back home.

What do you think is going to happen with Fonfara and Stevenson?

I don’t know, but I think if he goes into that fight with the right mentality, and know you’re strong and got the best ability, anything can happen.

Would you be interested or willing to fight Fonfara in Chicago after your fights?

Yeah, you know, it would be something big to fight each other in Chicago. We both have big followings back home. Ya know, a lot of people don’t know me, but I gotta lot of supporters in Chicago. I want to come back to fight in Chicago after this fight.

In addition to fan support, how does it feel to know that a lot of young black fighters in Chicago, most notably welterweight prospect Alex Martin, see you as a role model?

It feels good. I didn’t know a lot of people looked up to me like that there until recently, but it feels good.

Unlike a lot of Chicago’s best black fighters, you were able to make it. Why?

Most of the time, early in their careers when they are very good and tough prospects they get hooked up with the wrong people who just use them and throw them away after a few paydays. Basically, they get put into fights too early in their careers, and it ruins them.

Is that why you chose Malcolm Garrett as your promoter?

I chose Malcolm because a lot of other promoters were coming to me but a lot of these other promoters that were coming to me had a reputation for using fighters and not enough of those promoters had a reputation of building champions and taking care of them. Malcolm also had a good relationship with my uncle and my brother.

Do you think it has worked out?

Yeah it has worked out (laughs). I mean I’m fighting for the world championship (laughs).

You come from a fighting family. Why are the Agnews into boxing?

(Laughs) I don’t know. I just come from a family of it. I guess over the generations it has just been adopted and just passed on and passed. We are just trying to keep it rolling.

How long can you trace back? Obviously your uncle, “Mighty” Mike Evans, boxed, but who else?

My uncle boxed; my father did the amateurs; I had another uncle who boxed; I had four God brothers who boxed; my little brother, Frankie, boxes now and one sister boxed.

A while back you described your style as someone who fights like Winky Wright but has the hand speed of Roy Jones Jr. Can you explain that in more detail because most fans haven’t seen you fight?

Well, if you knew Winky Wright, then you know it was hard to penetrate his defense. He didn’t have a flashy defense or nothing like that but he always had his hands up at all times and it was hard to penetrate his tight defense. It was kinda like trying to knock down a brick wall. And like Roy Jones Jr., well, I’ve got hand speed.

Everybody has been talking about who Kovalev is going to fight next. Who are you thinking about fighting after Kovalev?

I don’t know. Ya know, whatever deals come to us and whatever my manager has in store for me and my family is what we will take. I’m ready for anyone they put in front of me, so whoever wants to step up is who I’ll take.

One more question. What does “L.O.W.” mean?

Leader of war.

Anything else you would like to add?

Just that it’s my time.

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/cedric-agnew-i-am-a-great-fighter-240155

 

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

Kovalev, Agnew clash heats up

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By Sam Geraci

On February 13, Main Events hosted a teleconference for its March 29 light heavyweight showdown in Atlantic City between WBO champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KOs) and top-rated but relatively unknown Cedric “L.O.W.” Agnew (26-0, 13 KOs). The bout will be televised on HBO and is the first bout at the Boardwalk Hall for Main Events since Arturo Gatti took on Alfonso Gomez in 2007 in Gatti’s final bout. Here are the highlights from the teleconference:

Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev

“I have only one big wish, and that is to win this next fight, and I have a main goal to win one more title this year.

“The public and the fans and everybody want this fight (Stevenson-Kovalev). Everybody pushes him, and this year will be this fight.”

“This fight (with Agnew) is dangerous for me too, and who will win we will see. I’m going to the ring to win.”

“All my focus is to win and then win my next title to get better and fight Stevenson.”

“It’s not my fault that my opponents all get knocked out.”

“In my division the best boxer is Stevenson, and I need to beat Stevenson. After this, I will be in first place in my division. I’m ready for any fight in my division.”

“I just want to fight Stevenson right now.”

“I love to spend time with my family and friends.”

Cedric “L.O.W.” Agnew

“I prepare (for Kovalev) the way I’ve been preparing. Training hard, taking things one day at a time, hard sparring and hard work with my trainer, but I take no fight lightly, and I don’t care who I’m fighting.”

“A fight with Sergey Kovalev is a great fight for us, and we wouldn’t have taken the fight if we didn’t think we could win the fight. With that being said, I don’t look at him as no terminator or nothing. He’s a human just like I am. He can be hurt just like anybody else can be hurt. Come March 29 we’ll see what’s gonna happen.”

“Well, to me it doesn’t matter how many fighters I went the distance with or how many I stopped. Everybody knows that styles make fights, and I believe, I mean I know I have the style to defeat Sergey Kovalev or anybody else they put in front of me.”

“Come March 29th, you’ll see what style that is.”

“Like I say, I’m gonna go out there and do what I’ve been doing for years. I don’t look at it as there being pressure from back home because my hometown is gonna stand behind me regardless. On fight night, I’m ready to take care of business.”

“I’m not focused on the fight they’re trying to make or the fight they’re thinking about. I’m focused on March 29th, and I’m not focused on people underestimating me. I’m training, staying positive and staying focused.”

“I don’t know how you guys are taking it. I’m not sounding overconfident. I’m just humble, and I know the roads I’ve had to take to get here and now that it’s here, I have to show the world all of my talent. I have to show the world who is Cedric Agnew.”

“In that fight with Yusaf Mack I just did what I needed to do to win the fight.”

“I don’t see nothing spectacular coming from this guy. My personal opinion I just think he’s ordinary.”

Kathy Duva, Promoter of Main Events

“The bigger names take time to make, and that fight (Stevenson) will get made, but our goal is for Sergey to stay active and Sergey’s goal is to stay active. This is the fight we found. This young man is willing to step up and test his skills, and that’s what this sport is all about. I remember people talking a long, long time ago when Mike Tyson was fighting Buster Douglass when we were trying to make the Tyson-Holyfield fight and you know what happened then, so I never ever discount anyone’s chances of winning a fight and nobody ever should.”

“From what we know, Cedric is a boxer and he is undefeated so he doesn’t know what it feels like to lose.”

“I think no matter what, we’ll see a sensational performance from Sergey Kovalev. Like I said, nobody gave that guy against Mike Tyson much of a chance. There’s no such thing as a sure thing. It’s easy for someone to lose focus when there’s talk of other big fights, and there’s millions of examples of people who have lost focus and walked into something that they didn’t expect. I think Sergey is a great fighter and think he can beat everybody in the world, but I’ve been at this long enough to know that you have to take everybody seriously.”

“As a promoter, I can’t come out and say that I think the outcome is preordained because I don’t think any outcome is.”

“The real challenge aside from Cedric Agnew is not to get distracted by fights that are out there of potentially happening. I mean there’s been more questions on this phone call about Adonis Stevenson than there have been about Cedric Agnew.”

“A fight between Sergey and Andre Ward is certainly something that is gonna happen someday, but it’s not going to happen at 168.”

“When you start out (looking for opponents), you have to look at the top fifteen. You have to see who’s available and then discuss with HBO. Fonfara is someone that HBO would approve but he moved on. Cedric was also on that very short list of people that HBO asked us to approach first, and once we knew that Fonfara wasn’t going to work out, we approached Malcom.”

“He’s American; he’s undefeated; the fight’s in the United States and Sergey’s last two opponents have not been American so it made all the sense in the world.”

Malcom Garrett, Promoter of Garrett Promotions

“Number one, we’re glad that a lot of people are gonna underestimate Cedric Agnew. Cedric Agnew is a very skilled fighter. This is a fight that Agnew is chomping at the bit for. He thinks he’s ready for this fight. We think he’s ready for this fight. He was a good amateur, but had some hand problems in the amateurs, so he wasn’t able to do what he wanted to do; however, he’s been flying a bit under the radar, which may not always be the worst thing. He plans on upsetting, and I believe we got a fight here, gentlemen.”

“Cedric would rather have fought Kovalev (than the IBF eliminator). Style-wise we like Kovalev’s style for Cedric.”

“I know everybody wants to see Kovalev and Stevenson. I’d like to see the fight my self. We’d all sit down and watch it, and I’m sure HBO will buy it later this year; however, they’re just going to have to do it without the WBO title.”

Jolene Mizzone, Main Events Matchmaker

“Sergey Kovalev is must see television, and someone you have to watch.”

“The biggest point that everybody has to realize is that Cedric Agnew wants to fight Kovalev. This is a fight that they’ve been asking for. There’s not many guys out there from doing the matchmaking that want to fight Kovalev. ”

John David Jackson, Kovalev’s Trainer

“Sergey’s become an all-around fighter. He’s going to the body a lot more. He’s placing his punches a lot better, and he’s not rushing his shots like he once did.”

“He (Sergey) has boxing skills, but we haven’t seen those because most guys don’t go past four rounds, so maybe in the future we’ll get a chance to see him display his boxing abilities.”

“He’s not just one-dimensional, and that’s what a lot of fighters don’t realize. They hear he’s a “Krusher” or “Terminator” and they think he’s just one-dimensional. Sergey has a lot of tools to work with. I’m hoping in this fight here that maybe Cedric will make Sergey show people what he can do and Sergey can showcase his talents.”

“It’s an intriguing fight, and we’re not taking this kid lightly. Sergey takes no opponent lightly. When we’re in the gym training, every fighter is the most important person on the planet at that moment.”

“I’m in the same boat you’re in, but we’ll get films on him in the next week or so and then we’ll dissect him and see what he is.”

“Once he became champion, he became the hunted. He’s no longer the hunter. This kid stepped up, so that means he’s hungry.”

“Our sole focus is Cedric Agnew.”

Bobby Benton, Agnew’s Trainer

Cedric’s been fighting since he was eight, and he’s got a bunch of amateur fights and knows how to fight. We’ve been begging for exposure and now we’re getting it. He’s gonna be ready; he always is.”

“Since he’s been down here in the last four years, he’s maybe taken ten days out of the gym. He’s a gym rat, and he’s ready.”

http://www.fightnews.com/Boxing/kovalev-agnew-clash-heats-up-237197