Photo by: Sergey Kovalev/Hoganphotos –
Big Bear City, CA – As current WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev prepares for the fight of his life against Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins next month, he is on the precipice of a life-altering event as his wife, Natalya, is moments away from giving birth to their first child.
The Kovalevs are expecting their son any day now, with the official due date scheduled for October 17. Despite the stress and distractions that come with expectant-parenthood, the 31-year-old Kovalev assured everyone at his media day at Wolf Total Fitness in Big Bear City, Calif. yesterday that his focus is still fixated 100 percent on Hopkins, “I’m living for this fight. Only for this fight. I’m leaving for Florida when my [first] baby is due. I’ll be in training camp in Florida because this is the most important thing in my life right now.”
Sergey is scheduled to conclude his strength and conditioning training in Big Bear on October 9, then he will return to Ft. Lauderdale, FL to begin the sparring portion of his training with his trainer two-division world champion John David Jackson. With this schedule, there is a very good chance he will not be with his wife in Los Angeles when she goes into labor.
“The doctor says my baby is due October 17, but also said that we can plan one week early because in the last week the baby will be one pound more so for my wife it will be harder,” explained Kovalev.
“Right now she’s very afraid she will stay alone in LA. She’s most worried that I won’t see him after [he is born] for one month. She says that for her it’s very important. I said, why? I will see a picture,” joked Kovalev. “I don’t understand yet, but maybe she is 100 percent right that I will see him Thursday and after that I will crush Hopkins. I need to see him first before I give him a name.”
Despite potentially missing out on the birth of his son, Kovalev feels training for this fight is the most important thing he can do for his new family, “I have in my body, I have in my face, I have in my mind, the motivation that I need to get this win because it’s my future.” He added, “My goal still is to be undisputed in this division. This fight is two more titles, it’s my goal. I want all four.”
Sergey knows he is facing no small feat in the 49-year old Hopkins, “Our styles are different. American and Russian boxers are from different boxing schools. Hopkins’ style is old school. He’s doing some things that nobody does. Nobody does it how he does it,” explained ‘The Krusher.’ “This fight for me will be a big test. Hopkins is very good fighter. He is a very tough fighter and very smart. It will be a very good fight. His defense is incredible too. We’re working on everything. I have prepared for twelve rounds because I understand his strategy, what he wants to do and we’ll be prepared for anything.”
Training camp always begins for Kovalev with strength and conditioning in Big Bear. “In Big Bear everything is close. Nobody can touch you, nobody can call you, nobody can disturb you – just you and your mind and your focus on the fight,” said Kovalev. “Big Bear helped me to be focused on my workout, on my job. Florida is boxing training camp. Only boxing, only sparring, not for physical training. Here [in Big Bear] is for strength and condition to be stronger in the ring.”
When asked about his strategy for Hopkins, Sergey said, “I don’t have any strategy. I just go into the fight. What will happen, will happen. I’m not scared to lose, I’m not scared to win. This is a sport. But Hopkins is a legend. He’s a professor of boxing. He’s a very proud man as a boxer. He’s very smart, he’s very technical. It will be very difficult to fight him and for me it will be very big test. I’m ready for any test in my life. I have prepared for this test.”
Sergey is known as “The Krusher” because of his uncanny ability to secure the knockout; 92 percent (23 of 25) of his victories have come via the stoppage. However, according to Kovalev, that is not his game plan going into each fight, “I don’t have a goal to knockout anybody. I just go into the ring and make a fight. When it happens, it’s good for me. Less work, less job in the ring, more happy and more happy for my fans. I don’t have a goal that I need to knock him out.” He added, “When you want to knockout somebody, you can’t do it because your opponent can see your punch. I just go in to do boxing.”