Photos: Alexandr Safonov/Championat.com

WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) defended his title with a twelve round unanimous decision over Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba (24-4-2, 10 KOs) on Monday night at the DIVS Palace of Sports in Ekaterinburg, Russia. Kovalev pressed the action, while Chilemba looked to frustrate and avoid exchanges. Difficult fight for the champion until late in round seven, when Kovalev dropped Chilemba with a crushing right hand. Chilemba survived the round. Kovalev rocked Chilemba again in round eight. The pace then slowed down for the next several rounds, but Kovalev closed the show by punishing Chilemba in the last round. Scores were 117-110, 116-111, 118-109. Chilemba fought without trainer Buddy McGirt, who had visa problems. His corner was run by his manager Jodi Solomon, who is also one of the few female trainers.

Next up for Kovalev is likely a November showdown with Andre Ward, who must have been pleased with what he saw. Ward has a bout against Alexander Brand scheduled for August 6 in Oakland.

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On Monday night, WBO, WBA and IBF light heavyweight world champion Sergey”The Krusher” Kovalev will return home to Russia to face challenger Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba in a 12-round championship bout. These two fighters will bring very different styles and when they clash on HBO (same day delay).

Below is the scouting report:

“The Krusher” Kovalev
“Golden Boy” Chilemba
29-0-1 (26 KOs)
24-3-2 (10 KOs)
Strength Kovalev has solidified his position in the sport as one of its most devastating punchers. He possesses knockout power in both hands. Chilemba is a crafty fighter with good technical skills. He is an effective counter-puncher with great endurance and strong defense. He is also very accurate and uses his jab well.
Weakness Sergey tends to leave openings in his guard allowing himself to be hit. He has been knocked down before but not hurt. He will have to pick his shots wisely in this bout when facing a good counter-striker in Chilemba. “The Golden Boy” does not possess much punching power in either hand; he has only recorded one knockout victory since 2011. He also has a tendency to be a slow-starter in the ring, which can cost him immensely if The Krusher is able to land one early.
Experience While Isaac has plenty of experience, Kovalev has been just as active and has been in the bigger fights throughout his career. Isaac is very experienced and has been steadily active throughout his career.
Power “The Krusher” has tremendous power in both hands; he throws every punch with bad intentions and puts together very effective combinations. Isaac is a technically skilled boxer, but lacks the initial pop that could change the momentum of the fight.
Speed Kovalev has average speed that picks up once he smells blood and goes for the finish. Isaac is quick on his feet. He moves around the ring well making it difficult for his opponents to connect at times.
Endurance Sergey showed the world that he can go a full 12-rounds when he earned a unanimous decision win over former titleholder and future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins, but he has only been past 8 rounds once. Chilemba has excellent endurance; he has gone a full 12-rounds on nine separate occasions throughout his career.
Accuracy Sergey shows great accuracy with the long-range aggressive style that he utilizes. He throws very accurate and powerful body shots as well. Isaac is a very accurate puncher who chooses his spots wisely and times his punches well. His accuracy and timing have been effective in taking his opponents out of their rhythm.
Defense Sergey’s strength is his offense, which he has established as his best defense thus far. However, his aggressive style has allowed past opposition opportunities to land shots as well. Chilemba is a good defensive fighter who utilizes effective counter-punching skills. He exhibits impressive foot work and moves around the ring well.
Chin Kovalev has been knocked down twice in his career, but he has risen to the occasion both times to finish the fight and earn the victory. Isaac has never been stopped, and was able to get off the canvas to earn a win over previously unbeaten Maxim Vlasov after overcoming two knockdowns in the fight.
Style Sergey is an offensive fighter who likes to walk his opponents down and go for the finish. He utilizes a long-range aggressive style and does not take his foot off the gas throughout the match. Isaac is an effective technical fighter with good counter-boxing skills. He likes to utilize his defense and a sharp jab to take his opponents out of their comfort zone.
Intangibles Kovalev will compete in his backyard for only the third time in his professional career. Rather than provide his fans with a tune-up bout to improve his chances of earning a victory at home, he will instead face a fighter in Isaac Chilemba who can pose a problem for anyone in his division, and who has never been stopped. Chilemba is coming off a controversial loss in a title-eliminator bout against current top contender Eleider Alvarez. Rather than request a tune-up bout to get back on track and polish up any mistakes from his last bout, he opted to seize an opportunity to take “The Krusher’s” titles in his own backyard.
Crowd Support Sergey is fighting in his homeland of Russia and grew up not too far from the site of the bout. Expect a packed house all rooting for their hero. He is in his opponent’s backyard and has never competed in Russia thus far in his professional career. However, Isaac has proven he can be a road-warrior.
The Match-up
  1. Will Sergey be looking past this fight to his fight in November against Andre Ward?
  2. Will Isaac be able to handle Sergey’s power?
  3. Sergey will be fighting near his hometown for the first time as the light heavyweight champion, will he be able to handle the additional pressure?
  4. Will Isaac be able to handle fighting in Sergey’s backyard?