This past February in Texas, 🇷🇺Sergey Kovalev got some much needed redemption against Eleider Alvarez while reclaiming his title as WBO Light-Heavyweight Champion. After losing by knockout to Alvarez in August of 2018, Kovalev dominated the rematch on the way to a clear unanimous decision win.
It was Kovalev’s first fight under the watchful eye of trainer Buddy Mcgirt, who got the heavy handed Russian back to doing what he does best going back to his days as an amateur, which is throwing combinations and moving, working behind his jab and right hand. The gameplan McGirt set gave us the best version of Kovalev that has been seen in a while.
This Saturday, Kovalev (33-3-1, 28KO) returns to his native Russia for the first time since defeating Isaac Chilemba by unanimous decision in 2016, and just the second time in the last eight years. Before his fight with Chilemba, the last time Kovalev had fought in Russia was 2011 where his opponent Roman Simakov took a knee in the seventh round and was counted out. Simakov would be taken to the hospital where he passed away from injuries sustained during the course of the fight.
This time around Kovalev will be defending his title against power punching British Light-Heavyweight 🇬🇧Anthony Yarde ( 18-0-0, 17KO). Yarde brings a high KO percentage to the ring but he also brings the question of if he is really ready for a fight of this level, or has he just been propped up with C level competition?
No surprise that both Yarde and his trainer Tunde Ajayi believe the time is right for the upset and that Kovalev isn’t fully engaged on the task at hand. There is word that there is possibly a deal in place that if Kovalev takes care of Yarde, that he will punch a ticket to face Canelo Alvarez later this fall.
Kovalev at 36 years old could have a major payday ahead, along with continuing to cement himself among the beat at 175 at this point. Yarde should he go into Russia and dethrone the current champion, proves to the light heavyweight division that he is the real deal.
Sergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde fight for the WBO Light-Heavyweight title will take place at the Traktor Sports Palace in Chelyabinsk, Russia, and will be streamed on ESPN+ starting at 12:30 p.m. ET.