Sergey Kovalev will end 2019 without a title around his waist. On the brighter side, he will also spend the rest of the year away from a courtroom.
A prior trial date of Nov. 25 for the former three-time light heavyweight titlist has now been rescheduled for Jan. 6, 2020 at the Superior Court of California in San Bernardino County, according to a court document which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. The ruling came during a pre-trial hearing on Monday, which revealed the new court date along with vacating a similar pre-trial hearing previously scheduled to take place this Friday in San Bernardino County.
Kovalev has been ordered to stand trial for charges of felony assault by means of force likely to cause great bodily injury. The case dates back to Kovalev’s arrest last June in Big Bear, California.
According to court documents, the alleged victim—Jamie Frontz, who has also filed an $8 million lawsuit against the boxer—reported to authorities of her being attacked by the boxer after rejected his advances at a party held earlier in the evening. Kovalev and one of his friends allegedly followed Frontz to her cabin, the location of the alleged attack where she claims to have suffered a broken nose, a concussion and a displaced disk in her neck after being punched in the face.
Bail was posted for the boxer four days later, as he was freed on a $50,000 surety bond which remains active. Kovalev entered a Not Guilty plea during a disposition hearing last August, coming 23 days after his upset knockout loss to Eleider Alvarez in their first fight.
The aforementioned loss to Alvarez was one of four fights in which Kovalev (34-4-1, 29KOs) has participated since the alleged incident took place, though not coming to light until less than a month prior to his scheduled rematch with Alvarez, with TMZ Sports breaking the story.
Kovalev went on to win the rematch and regain his title, which he successfully defended in an11th round knockout of previously unbeaten Anthony Yarde (18-1, 17KOs) this past August in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The bout came a pivotal development surrounding the alleged assault, when the state made its case to move forward with charges.
“We conducted a preliminary hearing on April 4th, 2019 where Mr. Kovalev was held to answer, meaning a judge determined that there was sufficient evidence for the case to proceed to trial,” Jason Liso, lead deputy district attorney for San Bernardino County told BoxingScene.com at the time. “Mr. Kovalev is charged with California Penal Code Section 245(a)(4) as a felony, which has a maximum punishment of four years in the state prison.”
Kovalev was ordered to appear in court on Oct. 3, at which time Judge Dwight W. Moore originally ordered the Nov. 25 jury trial date to begin. By that point, the 36-year old Russian boxer had already secured an eight-figure payday to face reigning World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on Nov. 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The DAZN-streamed headliner ended with Kovaelv—down on two scorecards and even on a third through 10 rounds—land on the wrong end of a highlight reel 11th round knockout.
The postponed trial date is perhaps a much needed victory for Kovalev, although by no means a sign of his legal troubles going away.
“Mr. Kovalev is still facing criminal charges, and is currently scheduled to stand trial,” Liso confirmed to BoxingScene.com.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox