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Kovalev Wants Five More Fights, To Become Undisputed Champ

By Keith Idec

Sergey Kovalev admitted Wednesday that he is “old” by boxing’s standards.

The WBO light heavyweight champion still hopes to fight five more times before he calls it a career. If Kovalev can get by hard-hitting, undefeated mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde on Saturday night, the 36-year-old Russian veteran would want those final five fights to account for huge purses and/or other light heavyweight titles.

Kovalev talked about his plan during an interview with BT Sport’s Steve Bunce following a press conference Wednesday in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Kovalev’s hometown.

“For myself, what I see,” Kovalev said, “like five more fights and to be the undisputed champion.”

sergey-kovalev (2)_10

Fighting the winner of the upcoming bout between Artur Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk would present an opportunity to leave the ring with three light heavyweight titles. Russia’s Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs) and Ukraine’s Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs) will fight for Beterbiev’s IBF title and Gvozdyk’s WBC championship October 18 in Philadelphia.

Russia’s Dmitry Bivol (16-0, 11 KOs) owns the WBA world light heavyweight title. Canada’s Jean Pascal (34-6-1, 20 KOs, 1 NC), whom Kovalev already has stopped twice, is the WBA’s interim 175-pound champion.

As enticing as any of those fights might become for Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) if he fends off England’s Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs), a win Saturday should solidify an eight-figure purse to meet Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez later this year. Kovalev declined Wednesday to discuss the possibility of squaring off against Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs), who would have to move up two weight classes to fight him.

“Let’s just see what will be this Saturday,” Kovalev said. “All these fights, yes, I really want it. But everything depends from this Saturday, you know? I have a focus right now for this fight, and next, I will be open for each fight.”

Kovalev acknowledged, though, that he is looking forward to life after boxing.

“I’m already old, 36 years old,” a laughing Kovalev said. “Just like a couple more years [is] enough. I wanna spend more time with my family, because I don’t see them, how my baby’s growing up. This year was the most I was out of my family. Since May, I saw maybe like twice on weekends each month. Like, it’s really tough.”

Kovalev-Yarde will be the main event of an ESPN+ stream in the United States (12:30 p.m. EDT/9:30 a.m. PDT). Most of the Kovalev-Yarde card will be broadcast by BT Sport in the United Kingdom (5 p.m. BST). 

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback
Comment by Sinbad on 09-07-2019

Me overrating Canelo? When was the last time you saw Canelo on the deck? Hell, Kovalev knows a lot more about being down.

Comment by Boxing_1013 on 08-26-2019

[QUOTE=Shadoww702;20012325]I agree Eleider Alvarez can do it all. He has a Gold and Bronze medal. And has some very solid wins on his resume. I was looking forward to him and Hart before the injury... I think Kovalov beats Canelo.…

Comment by Shadoww702 on 08-25-2019

[QUOTE=Boxing1013;20009022]Alvarez would give anyone problems...I always knew he could box but didn't realize how strong he was/looked in there against Kov...he has some good wins on his resume as well, and [B]I wouldn't be surprised if he is closer to…

Comment by slimPickings on 08-25-2019

I personally think Bivol is the class of 175. Kov is past prime and boderline shot . At this stage of his career about every fight is a struggle. I'll put my money on Canelo to stop him. Would not…

Comment by Sinbad on 08-24-2019

[QUOTE=QballLobo;20009027]Canelo’s got your retirement fund waiting for you in November. Just don’t slip up tonight.[/QUOTE] Totally agree with ya.

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