WBA, IBF and WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KO) has to overcome one more obstacle before he takes on Andre Ward in an epic confrontation in November.
Veteran contender Isaac Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KOs) plans to be more than just a speed bump for the Russian wrecking machine. Not many are giving Chilemba a chance to beat Kovalev, but the 29-year-old Malawian told ESPN.com's Dan Rafael:
"Kovalev is not invincible. He is not God. He is a man just like me. I will be the man to crush the 'Krusher."
Here's how you can watch:
When: Monday, July 11 at 10:15 p.m. ET
Where: DIVS Palace of Sports in Ekaterinburg, Russia
Last Time Out
Kovalev Crushes Pascal
In a rematch of one of Kovalev's most competitive battles, the champion took on Jean Pascal. The outcome wasn't pretty for the challenger.
The two men had built a bitter rivalry and Kovalev was merciless as he pounded on Pascal throughout the fight. By the middle of the bout, Pascal and his corner knew they had no chance to win.
With a nose that looked to be broken and a battered face, Pascal's trainer Freddie Roach waved the fight off before the start of the eighth round.
It was a methodical and dominant performance from Kovalev that solidified his place among the best fighters in the world.
Alvarez Edges Chilemba
In a controversial result, Eleider Alvarez won a majority decision over Chilemba. Many who saw the fight felt Chilemba might not have gotten a fair shake.
The scorecards were all over the place. One judge had it a draw, another had Alvarez winning 118-110 and the third scored it 115-113 for him as well.
In any case, Chilemba's third loss didn't hurt him too much. Less than eight months later, he finds himself in a world-title bout. Perhaps the pain is yet to come.
Allan Fox of Boxing News 24 calls this bout "a mismatch." He's right. This is going to be a one-sided fight.
Chilemba is a good boxer, and he has good height and length at 6'2" with a 73" reach, but Kovalev should have no problem blasting through him.
The challenger has just 10 knockouts in his career. It'll be difficult for the Malawian to keep Kovalev at bay. By the sixth round, Kovalev will have put Chilemba down and possibly out.
No matter the details, Kovalev will win by stoppage.