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Kovalev Talks To Media In Camp

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Training Camp Notes: Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, Expectant Father Focused Still On Bernard Hopkins

Big Bear City, CA (Oct. 3, 2014)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.”

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“Alien vs. Krusher: Hopkins vs. Kovalev” is a 12-round unification bout for the IBF, WBA and WBO Light Heavyweight World titles, presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Main Events in association with Caesars Atlantic City, Corona Extra, AT&T, Hortitsia Vodka and Mexico, Live it To Believe It!. Ali vs. Abregu is a 10-round welterweight bout promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Top Rank. The HBO World Championship Boxing telecast begins at 10:45 p.m. ET/PT.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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