Former WBA light heavyweight champion Gabriel Campillo, 21-4-1, 7 KOs, is ready for his return to the ring after a layoff of almost one year. He fights undefeated power puncher Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 18-0-1, 15 KOs, in an anticipated 10-rounder at the Mohegan Sun Casino on Saturday, January 19th. The fight is the feature bout in the season opener of NBC Sports Network’s popular FIGHT NIGHT boxing series. The telecast will begin at 9PM ET with the Elvin Ayala vs. Curtis Stevens co-feature.
The last time Campillo fought, February 18, 2012, he thought that he had once again become a world champion. However, after 12 rounds with IBF champ Tavoris Cloud, Campillo found himself on the short end of a controversial split decision. Cloud retained his title and sent Campillo back to the drawing board. However, the fans remained on Campillo’s side.
“Ever since February 12th, I hear a couple of times each day from the people that I deserved that decision,” Campillo said.
A win against the rapidly rising Kovalev might be exactly what Campillo needs to receive another crack at the championship, against Cloud or anyone else holding a belt.
“I want to fight every big name in the division until I am considered the number one boxer in the 175-pound weight class,” Campillo said.
The first step is beating “Krusher” Kovalev.
“He’s a dangerous boxer with a very good right cross,” Campillo said. “But he has never fought a world class boxer like me. I am great at bobbing and weaving and counter punching. If we go to the scorecards, I have no doubt I’ll win by a huge margin. But just maybe one of my counter punches will end the fight.”
The pair was originally scheduled to face off in September, but a Campillo back injury forced a postponement of the fight.
“My back is completely recovered,” Campillo said. “Even though I only fought one time last year, I kept training and had sparring sessions throughout the whole year. So I am in great shape.”
The fight in Uncasville, CT, will only be the third time Campillo has boxed in the United States, but he welcomes his return to the USA.
“I love fighting in America,” Campillo said. “The people always treat me like I am American. I love that. Boxing in Spain doesn’t have the same prestige that it does in the States. Here every sportsman is respected.”
Perhaps that lack of prestige is due to the fact that boxing champions from Spain are a fairly rare breed. Campillo is one them, but feels he needs more victories and more titles before he’s considered the best ever to come from his country.
“I think Javier Castillejo has won more titles than me, but I can beat him yet,” Campillo joked.