Revenge: Kovalev-Beterbiev pursued for November


Sergey Kovalev - Artur BeterbievAfter neutralizing his No. 1 IBF mandatory challenger Nadjib Mohammedi (37-4, 23 KO’s) inside three rounds at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday, light-heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev (28-0, 25 KO’s) has his sights set on his next fight.

Kovalev was just too big and too strong for Mohammedi, who trembled after each shot. Mohammedi was sent down from a barrage in the second but managed to survive the onslaught.

In the third, a lead right followed by a straight left from ‘Krusher’ sent him to the canvas for the third time. Mohammedi failed to beat the count as he was covering his left eye after sustaining an injury.

Kathy Duva, Kovalev’s promoter with Main Events, said that she intends on having Kovalev fight again in November against No. 2 IBF challenger Artur Beterbiev (9-0, 9 KO’s) in Moscow.

Beterbiev’s career as a professional has obviously not been very long, but he has an impressive resume. He’s a two-time gold medal winner at the European Amateur Championships, as well as a two-time medalist at the World Amateur Championships (one silver, one gold).

Like Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte’s ongoing rivalry, Kovalev wants revenge for a pair of defeats in the amateurs. Kovalev turned pro in 2009 and has an advantage over his nemesis as far as pro experience is concerned.

Will it matter when it comes time to fight?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Henry Tillman twice beat Mike Tyson in the amateurs. Tillman turned pro in 1984 while Tyson turned pro in 1985. However, it didn’t matter at all when they met in June 1990 at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Tyson knocked out his rival in the first round of a scheduled 10-round bout.

Speaking with Fight News, Duva said a Kovalev-Beterbiev matchup would be fun.

“He is going to be fighting in Moscow on November 28,” Duva said. We’re looking to offer the fight and match him against Beterbiev. Thanksgiving in Russia, it’s going to be fun.”

Kovalev then issued his statement, along with a message to a particular fighter he doesn’t have good taste for.

“Whoever deserves the fight with me, I am ready for anyone,” Kovalev said.

“Pascal wants a rematch, or I don’t know – whoever is ready. Right now,
I want to fight the WBC champion Adonis “Piece of [censored] Stevenson. Artur Beterbiev, we will see. Andre Ward? Sure. I’m open for any great fighters.”

Beterbiev would be the biggest challenge in Kovalev’s career to this point. His style is very similar to his, he has tremendous power in both hands, his work on the inside is very precise, and he knows when to time his opponents.

At the same time, we haven’t seen these guys challenged by big punchers – they are the biggest punchers – and that is what would make this a tremendous fight. It’s going to be like 1917 all over again when two Russians at the top of their game prove who the stronger comrade is.

Promoter Yvon Michel of GYM informed Boxing Scene that Beterbiev has no issue fighting on HBO.

His last two fights have been on Premier Boxing Champions.

“We are 100% behind that [responding to Duva’s offer]. Artur Beterbiev is now ranked No. 2 by the IBF. With Mohammedi being knocked out, he was number one and he will be losing his spot next week and we will receive a letter from the IBF for Beterbiev to fight for the mandatory position against whoever will have the guts to get in the ring with him. But, if we have the opportunity to fight for the title directly, this is something that we’re more than happy about. But, we have to have a fair offer for wherever…Russia…wherever will be the best place that Kathy Duva will choose. If we have to be on HBO, no problem, there is no issue,” Michel said.