Kovalev: ‘I just can’t wait to get inside the ring and show the world who is the best cruiserweight on the planet’

Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (34-4, 29 KOs), living in Long Beach, CA, will fight Tervel Pulev in his cruiserweight debut on Saturday, May 14 at The Kia Forum in Inglewood, CA and will be streamed live on Triller and Fite.tv.

Kovalev is being trained by Buddy McGirt and his strength and conditioning coach is Teddy Cruz.  They are the duo that reinvented Arturo Gatti.

“Buddy was a real smart boxer and a real smart trainer and coach. Sometimes a good boxer can’t be a good coach and sometimes a coach wasn’t a good boxer. But Buddy has it both ways – good boxer and good coach. He does what he needs to do to get me prepared the best for the fight.  Buddy gives me tactics and sound techniques and strategy. Together we are working towards getting another world title, this time in the cruiserweight division and become champion for the fourth time.”

For this eight-week training camp Sergey is staying in a hotel in close to the park where he runs and his boxing gym is a twenty minutes away in Van Nuys.  “The most difficult part of my career right now is being away from my family,” said Kovalev. “Ten years ago it was just me, now I have a wife and two kids.  To be away from them for two months is tough.”

Kovalev hits the boxing gym at 5 pm daily.  He spars three days a week and is off on Sunday.

An evening sparring would last about 1.5 hours and go as such: (1) Jump rope 4 rounds (2) Shadow box 4 rounds (3) Spar 7 rounds (4) Neck exercises.

A non-sparring evening workout would be technical training and some game plan.  

The Krusher arrives at the fitness gym early morning – every day except for Sunday – with strength and conditioning coach/extraordinaire Teddy Cruz. They will do a workout depending on how much boxing workout he does the evening prior.

The morning after a sparring day would be a low intensity 45-minute session and include: (1) Warm up stretch for 5-10 minutes (2) Squats combined with shoulder presses – 20 reps with 25 lb. dumbbells (3) Step lunges with torso twisting with 10 lbs. medicine ball for 20 reps, (4) Static lunges with curls for 20 reps with 25lbs dumbbells (5) Abs for 600 reps 

The morning after light boxing training would be a more intense workout such as: sprints for the legs and punching sprints for the arms, “or he can go run 5 miles.”

This will be Kovalev’s first fight since November 2, 2019.  “When you don’t fight for a long time you lose boxing skills. On the other hand the time off has helped me rest and get rid of all of my injuries – it’s like a renewal.

“My first two weeks of sparring I couldn’t touch my opponent (laughing) mostly because I was heavy, about 210 pounds. But then by week three, I had lost some weight and my boxing skills came back. By May 14, I will be at 187 pounds and there will be no rust. 

“I don’t really study my opponents.  I will watch one or two rounds from his last couple of fights so I can see what style he likes – does he like to fight inside or from a distance then I can prepare. I just can’t wait to get inside the ring and show the world who is the best cruiserweight on the planet.

Kovalev was initially preparing to fight Fanlong Meng but then “Egis (Klimas, manager) called me and said, “you have a new opponent – it is Pulev.”  I said “Pulev?  He is a heavyweight,” and Egis said “no, he has a brother that is a cruiserweight,” so I said “OK, Let’s go.”

“The only difference in the opponent change to me is we were initially training for a southpaw, now we are training for a rightpaw.

Holyfield expects to be ready against Belfort

Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield is back. The 58-year-old returns to the ring for the first time in a sanctioned bout since 2011 when he battles former UFC star Vito Belfort on Saturday night at Hard Rock LIVE at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida(FITE PPV/Triller Fight Club). 

According to ESPN’s Mike Coppinger, the fight will be eight, two-minute rounds with 12-ounce gloves.

Holyfield replaced Oscar De La Hoya, who was forced to withdraw after testing positive for Covid-19. The Atlanta native was scheduled to fight Kevin McBride in June, but that fight was postponed.

According to Holyfield, he’s in shape and will be ready for Belfort.

“I’ve been training for over two years because there were fights mentioned against other fighters,” he said. “I realize now as I prepare to face Belfort I’m in good shape, and I don’t get out of shape…

“I think I look alright, but this is after two years of solid training.”

Many are opposed to seeing Holyfield in the ring, but throughout his career, Holyfield has always defied the odds and plans on doing that against Belfort.

“When I was young, I didn’t have any bad habits, and so I’m older now and feel good,” Holyfield said. “I learned my whole life you’ll never be successful in life if you don’t take chances; that’s throughout my whole career.”

Should we have concerns about Holyfield entering the ring for a sanctioned bout at age 58? Probably, but fortunately for him, he will be fighting a 44-year-old Belfort, who is a novice when it comes to boxing, so maybe it won’t be too bad. Plus, it’s two-minute rounds, which helps.

In my opinion, Triller and the Florida commission will do everything in their power to make sure Holyfield doesn’t get hurt, but it’s the fight business, so anything can happen. 

We’ll see what both Holyfield and Belfort have left on Saturday night.

Photo: Amanda Westscott/Triller Fight Club

De La Hoya-Belfort set for September 11 in Las Vegas

Former boxing world champion Oscar De La Hoya will return to the ring to face former UFC Superstar Vitor Belfort in an exhibition bout on Saturday, September 11 in Las Vegas as part of the new TrillerVerz, the first-ever festival bringing together the power of Verzuz and Fight Club into one massive weekend festival, Triller announced on Thursday.

TrillerVerz is a partnership developed between Triller-owned Verzuz and Triller owned Fight Club bringing together the cultural phenomenon the two have created throughout the music and sports worlds.

“I am ready to return to the ring and I am proud to be part of Triller and Verzuz and their game-changing model of reimagining the boxing business as four-quadrant entertainment,” De La Hoya said. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for a champion like Vitor Belfort as we show the world what high level boxing is all about.”

“It was incredibly important to me my comeback was on this date as it represents such an important moment in history for me, my fans and the words culture. This is much bigger than just me and this event, for all those with ties and or roots in and to Mexico.”

 “It will be a pleasure to represent MMA again, this time in the ring against one of the biggest names in the history of boxing,” Belfort said. “It will be a war not to be missed and a fight my kids will be talking about. This is certain to make combat sports history.”

Known as ‘The Golden Boy’ the 48-year-old De La Hoya won 11 world titles in six weight classes, including the lineal championship in three weight classes as well as being an Olympic gold medalist. He’s one of the best drawing boxers in the sport’s history and was named The Ring magazine Fighter of the Year in 1995, and was its top-rated fighter in the world, pound for pound, in 1997 and 1998.

He announced his retirement as a fighter in 2009, following a professional career spanning 16 years.

Brazilian MMA fighter Belfort, 44, is known to fight fans as “The Phenom” for his explosive striking power that helped him secure the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship title and tie for third for the most finishes in UFC history. His fights became part of two of the biggest all-time best-selling UFC Pay-Per-View events in a successful career that includes fighting in UFC’s Heavyweight, Light Heavyweight and Middleweight divisions, fighting for the Strikeforce, Pride and Affliction promotions and winning the Cage Rage championship.

The full festival lineup and details will be announced shortly accompanying the world class boxing card.

Jake Paul has done it again!

Jake Paul proved once again that he can be pretty effective in the ring as he remained undefeated after scoring a first-round TKO over former Bellator and OneFC Championship champion Ben Askren at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Saturday night.

Paul(3-0, 3 KOs) landed a straight right hand that dropped Askren(0-1) midway through the first round. Askren would get back on his feet, but the referee felt he could not continue and called off the fight at the 1:59 mark of Round 1. 

The 36-year-old Askren made his boxing debut on Saturday night and did not seem too upset after the loss, but he thought he would have put on a better performance.

‘It’s unfortunate,” he said. “I really thought I could do better.”

Paul, who is coming off a second-round knockout win over former NBA player Nate Robinson, felt the fight against Askren would be easier than his victory over Robinson, and he was right.

“I said it the whole time,” Paul said. “This fight was going to be easier than Nate Robinson, and no one believed me per usual. At one point, I was the underdog… I’m not going to let yall forget that”

What’s next for Paul? Who knows, but many celebrities, MMA stars, YouTubers, and boxers would like to get into the ring with him based on his popularity. Look, in reality, Paul has decent skills. Can he beat a legitimate boxer? Probably not at this point, but who knows. However, Triller will probably find another MMA fighter to get in the ring with Paul. 

Hate it or love it, Triller puts on a good show that can appeal to the casual fight fan. The night included performances by Justin Bieber, The Black Keys, Doja Cat, Saweetie, Diplo, Major Lazer, and the world premiere of the hip hop supergroup Mt. Westmore (Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Too $hort, and E-40) performing for their first time together. So, the star power was there on Saturday night.

It should be interesting to see what type of pay-per-view numbers this show produces. Mike Tyson-Roy Jones Jr. did over a million pay-per-view buys, and based on the social media buzz, Paul-Askren might have done just as well at the box office.

Photo: Triller Fight Club

Video: Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr. face-off after weigh-in

The wait is over. On Friday, former undisputed heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and former multi-division world champion Roy Jones Jr. weighed in for their eight-round exhibition fight on Saturday night at Staples Center in Los Angeles(Triller PPV).

Tyson, 54, came in at 220 pounds, while the 51-year-old Jones weighed in at 210.

After the weighing in, the two fighters went face-to-face.

Watch below:

Photot: Lynn Millspaugh