By Ben Jacobs
Yvon Michel promotes another big night of boxing in Quebec this Saturday with both the main event and the chief support potentially explosive encounters.
Adonis Stevenson’s second defence of his WBC 175lbs title against Brit Tony Bellew has fight fans in the UK excited, but what do the locals know of the Liverpool man?
“In terms of the general public, they don’t know Tony Bellew, he hasn’t fought on television here,” explained Michel.
“I’ve told the media here in Quebec that he’s a deserving contender that earned his position by defeating other contenders in the race to the number one position. We’ve explained that he’s a tall fighter, that he fought as a heavyweight in the amateurs. He has a lot of determination, he’s young and hungry. Adonis is aware of his qualities and has prepared.
“Chad Dawson didn’t respect Adonis when he fought him and I’m sure Tony respects Adonis. I think it’s going to be a longer fight than the Dawson fight! I’m not sure if it will be more difficult than the Tavoris Cloud fight. Cloud is better than what he looked against Adonis. Adonis made him look lethargic. It’s Bellew’s first fight outside the UK. We’re looking for good opposition, I’m sure he’ll give his best but I really believe Adonis Stevenson is in a league of his own.”
In a sport in which most world champions only fight once or twice a year, it is refreshing to see Stevenson so active. The Haitian-Canadian will be competing in his fourth fight of 2013, three of which have been world title fights, including, of course, this Saturday against Bellew.
“It’s his third fight in less than six months and all three fights have been on HBO. He is that type of athlete who never gets out of shape,” Yvon continued.
“He always trains no matter if he has a fight or not. Some people thought that he might have caught Dawson with a lucky punch so he was out to trial when he fought Tavoris Cloud and he opened a lot of eyes with his skill, speed and boxing IQ, and I’m sure he will also put on a great performance on Saturday. I believe that if he beats Tony Bellew on Saturday he could be a major candidate for the fighter of the year.”
Acting as main support on the card will be a clash between two heavy-handed fighters for the WBO light-heavyweight title between Russia’s Sergey Kovalev and Ukranian Ismayl Sillakh. Should Stevenson and Kovalev prevail, there will naturally be talk of a future clash between two of the hardest punchers in boxing. Nevertheless, Michel sees a tricky night’s work for Sergey.
“It’s a stern test for Sergey Kovalev. Sillakh can box, he can punch. Maybe against [Denis] Grachev he was over confident at that time and he has learnt from that. The fact that he seems to be a bit chinny might give an advantage to Kovalev. Kovalev seems to be the whole package but I’m convinced there will be a knockout in that fight too. It’s going to be really interesting. I really love that fight. It will tell us more about the winner. If Kovalev wins it will answer a lot of questions.”
Everybody in the sport seems to be offering their view on last Saturday’s thrilling yet controversial battle between Carl Froch and George Groves. Michel enjoyed the bout as much as anyone and offered his own thoughts.
“I think Froch got caught off guard in the first round. He went down; he showed true grit and determination. When you get dropped in the first round, your strategy goes out of the window, everything you planned for goes and you have to adapt, and we have seen Groves is good.
“Froch never lost confidence and he used his experience. I believe it was maybe an early stoppage but Carl was back and he was able to find his strength and I believe he was going to win overall on points or maybe knock him out later.
“It was an excellent performance from Groves. I believe he grew in that fight but still the experience and determination of Carl Froch carried him through the fight.”
The Montreal-based promoter is also thinking about his next big show on January 18 between two former Froch opponents, Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute.
“It’s a huge, huge fight. We have 17,000 tickets sold, less than 4,000 available. So it’s a fight between two stars from here, two personalities, a clash of styles also. That fight will make history here in Canada.”