By Alexey Sukachev
Top light heavyweight contender Sergey Kovalev (20-0-1, 18 KOs), from Chelyabinsk, Russia, played a vital role in the start of Evgeny Gradovich’s professional career. In fact, Kovalev was one who introduced Gradovich (now 16-0, 8 KOs) to his future handler Egis Klimas and to support Evgeny all the way through during his first days overseas. In his post-fight quickie with Sportbox.ru, the hard-hitting Russian commented on his compatriot’s most recent win – the huge upset of the IBF featherweight king Billy Dib (35-2, 21 KOs).
- How did you feel about the final announcement?
- Well, it was quite weird. The ring announcer (Thomas Treiber) did a fine job of teasing our nerves, when he announced a split call. But when we heard the last phrase (“And the ne-e-ew!”) – Wow! – It was unspeakable, it was incredible. You know, it was a split decision, and the fight card was promoted by 50 Cent, so… But, thanks God, it wasn’t the case. The fight itself pleased me enormously; it literally made my day. It (the fight) was tense, hard and unpredictable. Evgeny gave everything of himself to get the crown. Fans supported him cordially, and we didn’t even have a bit of doubt on who would be crowned the winner.
- What has helped your teammate to become the Russia’s 16th world champion?
- Evgeny has reached for the stars thanks to his mentality, his desire and hunger, and certainly because of his physical conditions. He had just one month to get ready for the fight. He had just made the weight. Gradovich’s inner resources are inexhaustible. He won because of his stamina, his patience, his aggression and a tremendous number of the thrown (and landed) punches.
- What was the plan for the fight?
- Robert’s advice was to pressure Dib from the starting bell so that he would be wasted in four rounds. Through this relentless pressure and intensity, and because of a high number of punches thrown - Dib was put on his toes, ran around the ring and was limited to a defensive mode. Evgeny played out every point of the plan perfectly.