By Igor Lazorin, tass
World Boxing Organization (WBO) light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev has no problem with facing his division rival, countryman Artur Beterbiev, who holds the IBF world champion.
For years, the two boxers were unable to face each other due to politics and competing networks.
But now both of them have multi-fight agreements with Top Rank, who have an exclusive content deal with ESPN - making an agreement very easy to put together.
On record of the 36-year-old Kovalev are 33 wins (28 by KO), one draw and three defeats.
On February 3, the Russian puncher reclaimed the WBO world title, with a dominating twelve round decision in his rematch with Eleider Alvarez.
The next match for Kovalev is a mandatory defense against undefeated challenger Anthony Yarde. The date and venue has not been finalized, but the two sides have reached an agreement on the terms.
Beterbiev holds two victories over Kovalev when they collided in the amateurs.
“Artur Beterbiev is part of my priorities - because we have, let's say, a history from the amateurs where he crossed my path. But I am very grateful to God [that I lost those fights], that this is exactly what happened - because if I had won any prizes in the amateur world championships or the European championships or in the Olympic Games, I would have considered this to be my maximum achievement. And since I did not achieve my ambitions in amateurs, I stepped into professional boxing,” said Kovalev.
The 34-year-old Beterbiev has 13 fights, all of which he won by knockout, with no defeats. He won the IBF world title in November 2017, defeating German Enrico Kelling with a knockout in the 12th round and defended the title last October, winning over British challenger Callum Johnson with a knockout in the fourth round.
Next up, Beterbiev will make a voluntary defense against Radivoje Kalajdzic on May 4.