Thanksgiving may have been yesterday but WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and his first title challenger, Ismayl Sillakh, need one more day to determine which of them has more to be thankful for this year. The two 175-pounders face off Saturday night on HBO, from the Colisee Pepsi, in a 12-round title clash that will have one of them closing out 2013 in style.
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, 22-0-1, 20 KOs, originally from Chelyabinsk, Russia and now fighting out of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, has had an outstanding 2013. So far he’s scored three high-profile knockouts, including his title-winning effort against Nathan Cleverly, in his most recent bout. Kovalev is riding a 6-bout knockout streak.
Kovalev said, “Sillakh is a dangerous fighter, one of the strongest punchers that I have fought so far. I know that he wants to take my title, but I will not let him. I will win on Saturday. I waited a long time to get title and I intend to keep it a long, long time.”
For Ismayl Sillakh, 21-1, 17 KOs, a native of Zaporozhye, Ukraine who now resides in Canoga Park, CA, his first crack at a world championship is by far his biggest opportunity thus far. However, he too has been on a roll this year, winning all four of his 2013 fights, three of them by KO.
“As soon as I was offered to fight Kovalev for the WBO World title, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Sillakh, “I believe that everything happens for a reason.” He added, “I am ready for this fight 100%. I will come out victorious. I will be the newly crowned light heavyweight champion.”
The HBO broadcast begins at 10:15PM ET/PT with a replay of the Pacquiao – Rios fight, followed by the Kovalev – Sillakh battle and culminatinating with Stevenson – Bellew.