By Alexey Sukachev and Vringe.Com
This past Monday, two highly regarded Russian light heavyweights collided in an important cross-roader in Ekaterinburg under GT&KP Promotions. One of them, undefeated America-based puncher Sergey Kovalev (17-0-1, 15 KOs) escaped a brutal affair relatively unmarked – at least visibly – with a minor belt around his waist and his unbeaten record intact.
The other boxer, Roman Simakov, paid a much higher price… Simakov, also a fearless slugger but the lesser boxer of the two, lost consciousness immediately after the stoppage (forced by accumulation of punches and not by a single knockout blow). He has never regained it, finally succumbing a few days later to brain injuries sustained in fistic action. Simakov passed away at a tender age of 27; becoming the first Russian boxer to meet his ultimate fate inside the ring.
Sergey Kovalev shared his memories and impression of this tragic encounter in his blog at Vringe.com:
“Hello to everybody. I want to share some thoughts about my recent fight with Roman Simakov… As you have certainly seen, it started in a measured pace and it was quite even. I’ve got going only in the second round after the mediocre opening. In the midst of the fourth, I injured my left thumb, which I had surgery on four years ago. I decided to fight in more measured pace after that and gave Roman some room for his own activities.
After my successful attack in the sixth, when I put Simakov down, I honestly thought he wouldn’t rise to continue fighting but he did. Frankly speaking, I wanted this fight to be stopped because Roman had eaten so much leather to that point plus my own thumb gave me sudden pain with each punch I was throwing. Only when Romka (affectionate diminutive to “Roman” in Russian) moved backwards I landed a left hand to his forearm. I do think it wasn’t a single punch which resulted in the tragedy. It’s clearly seen on screen.
Certainly, I was very glad to get this win but I was unaware of Roman’s condition. I thought at that time that he had finally made the right decision not to continue this fight for his own good. When I came to his dressing room, he wasn’t there. He was in the hospital already… He was a Fighter and a Man. May his spirit rest in peace…
Meand my manager tried to speak with Roman’s parents but they don’t even want to hear about us. I understand it perfectly as they lost their beloved one. That’s a horrible tragedy. My manager bought them tickets to go from Kemerovo to Ekaterinburg but they were too late. They were too late as they landed in Ekaterinburg just thirty minutes after Roman’s death.
If I ever step in the ring again, I will dedicate my next fight to Roman. All of my earnings will be sent to his family. Forgive me, Roman… Rest in Peace, Warrior...”