Former world light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and opponent Vyacheslav Shabranskyy took part in a press conference Thursday to discuss their November 25 fight at Madison Square Garden in New York.
See below what Kovalev had to say at the press conference.
Sergey Kovalev: Hi, everybody, we’re happy to be here in New York for first time. My fight coming up November 25th and really happy to fight in East Coast again. I’ve fought in New Jersey, Atlantic City, but never fought in New York. I want to say thanks to my team, promoter Kathy Duva and my manager, Egis Klimas, and HBO. Also, to Team Slava Shabranskyy. Personally, to Slava Shabranskyy, that he approved to fight me November 25th. I will back stronger than I was before. It’s my goal right now to prove everybody and for myself that I am still strong fighter and I can be world champion again.That I have two last losses, it’s just like a huge lesson for me. Not like for the boxer, just in my life. I made a lot of analysis from these losses and I hope I will be much stronger than I was before. Thank you very much for your support and see you in November. Thank you, very much.
Question: Tim Dalberg from AP would like to know your reaction to the announcement of Andre Ward’s retirement.
SK: If it’s 100% true, it’s good for the boxing. It’s good for the boxing. We’re ready for fighting again for these titles and makes interesting fights between great fighters. Right now, in our division, a lot of good and strong fighters who wants to get this title. This would be very, very good fight for the boxing fans.
Question: Do you think his retirement is real or it’s for publicity?
SK: I don’t know. I don’t think about him at all. Because I’m looking forward to get my goals. That was my last two fights, it is already history. I forgot about those.
Questions: Are you disappointed of the possibility that you would not get a third fight?
SK: Yes and no. If this fight can happen very quickly, I’m happy. If like long time waiting, just to fighting close to titles, it’s no good. I want to be best in this division. I wanted to fight with the best fighters in this division.
Question: Do you have an update on your trainer search?
SK: I’m not looking for a coach. Just like everything counts as camps. Just have patient. My team will be complete in my training camp and in the ring also.
Question: When do you begin training?
SK: When? Next Monday.
Question: Do you go to Big Bear first like you normally do?
SK: It depends from the weather. From the weather in Big Bear.
Question: I would like to know if you find the timing of Andre Ward’s retirement strange. Is he trying to upstage you?
SK: His team and his self can’t play, he’s like mentally the games as they did before rematch. I don’t know, I don’t care at all.
Question: You said that you are starting next week at Big Bear. Is there a possibility that you work with Abel Sanchez?
Question: Supposedly Andre Ward left those titles vacant. Of course, everybody is looking towards vacant titles. If you don’t reach that goal, would you go after Superman Stevenson?
SK: I’m ready fighting anybody, but my goal to fight for the title as soon as possible. But right now, my fight is against Slava Shabranskyy and I have a focus on this fight. After this fight, will be understanding for me next way.
Question: Virgil Hunter had reached out, I think, and you kind of humored the idea of having him as your trainer if Andre was to move to cruiserweight or retire. Is that still a possibility to have Virgil Hunter be your new trainer?
SK: I thought about it, but didn’t decide it. I still thinking, but is good offer maybe, or maybe not. Who knows? I can’t get back to team of my opponent who I hate. Right now, two persons inside me like wrestling yes or no. It’s not easy to say yes or no. Just I keep going myself right now. I already almost understand who will be in my team. But I not ready announce it, because I’m not sure 100% ready they or not. But I already decided who I want to see in my training camp, in my team.
Question: Sergey, will this match-up with Shabranskyy determine if you stay at light heavyweight or move up to cruiserweight after this match-up?
SK: Cruiserweight very good because you can eat more in your diet. I understand now that I’m small for cruiserweight. Guys are losing weight from over 200 pounds and in the fight, they can have a weight like 210, 215 and more pounds. I am 185 to 190 maximum, it’s difficult to make 175 for one day; after this I get weight back and I feel good. I think so no.Maybe in future will try but not right now.