By Luke Furman
Former unified light heavyweight world champion Sergei Kovalev is only a few days away from his opportunity to reclaim a piece of the championship puzzle in 175-pounds.
Kovalev, or Russia, will Ukrainian Vyacheslav Shabranskyy for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Before this training camp took place, Kovalev began working with Eastern European coach Abrorom Tursunpulatovym.
Kovalev hired a new coach after parting ways with longtime trainer John David Jackson - following the Russian fighter suffering back to back defeats to Andre Ward.
Kovalev lost a close and some felt controversial decision to Ward last November, and then he was stopped in the rematch which took place in July. Both contests went down in Las Vegas.
Ward announced his retirement from boxing a few months ago, which in the process made the WBO, WBA, IBF titles vacant.
Shabranskyy is looking to make a name for himself after bouncing back from his only career defeat, a TKO loss to top rated contender Sullivan Barrera.
Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva of Main Events, believes her fighter looks a lot better since coming together with his new coach. She feels Kovalev look a lot better, physically, than he was in the weeks leading to both Ward bouts.
"I saw Sergei last week, and he certainly looks a lot better physically than he was two weeks before the fights with Ward. He also seems to be a lot happier. I think that a change of trainer was good for him. But we all will learn on Saturday when everyone will see how he performs," said Duva to Vasily Konov.
The professional record of Kovalev is 30 wins (26 by knockout) with two defeats from Ward and one draw. The 30-year-old Shabranskyy won 19 fights (16-KOs) with one defeat.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org