By Cihat Gemici
Former unified champion Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) is looking to impress when he comes back to the ring on November 25th against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
At the Theater in New York's Madison Square Garden, the winner of the fight will be the owner of the vacant WBO light heavyweight title. HBO will televise the contest.
Coming into this important match, Kovalev had lost back to back fights to Andre Ward. In losing those bouts, Kovalev was relieved of his WBO, WBA, IBF world titles. Ward retired a few months ago, creating a situation where all three titles were left vacant.
The WBA title has already been filled by Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) and the IBF belt was captured by Artur Beterbiev (12-0, 12 KOs).
Kovalev emphasized that the Shabranskyy match is an important test to redeem himself and capture a piece of the light heavyweight crown. Shabranskyy is well motivated to use the opportunity of the world championship, and for this reason it is going to be a dangerous match.
The Russian boxer underlined that his main goal, above all else, is to reclaim one of the belts that he held in the past, and also emphasizes that his performance against Shabranskyy is a high profile opportunity to show the fans and critics that he is still an elite boxer at 175 pounds.
After this fight, Kovalev will set his sights on getting two more titles, held by his countrymen, Bivol and Beterbiev.
"We must do these matches in the future. The pressure to do these matches will be high and I am waiting for those days [when I fight them]," Kovalev said.
Kovalev did not even mention Adonis Stevenson's name. Stevenson owns the WBC title, but Kovalev has tried for years to get him in the ring without success.
“Whoever owns the belt or whoever wants to do a unification match - I am ready to fight,” Kovalev said.