Last night we saw Sergey Kovalev v Isaac Chilemeba which turned out to be a successful defence for Sergey according to the score cards.
However I think anyone who has any boxing knowledge should realise it was far from a straight forward defence and was most certainly not comfortable for the hard hitting Russian.
The first two rounds were yes very straight forward to score all in favour of the Russian. Started off cutting off the ring well, cornering his man and let his hands go. However although it might be negative tactics from the Malawi fighter his movement defensively caused this to happen were it was difficult to land cleanly and effectively and this was a pattern which continued for most of the fight.
The third round was role reversal in terms of Issac having success with his right hands which seemed to anger Sergey and who was trying his hardest to make Chilemba trade off with him. The fourth round was another good round for Chilemba who was using his jab to offset the rhythm of Kovalev and actually making a good break through with his own success. But the most telling factor was the fact that Kovalev began starting to lose his range completely and falling short with his shots.
The fifth round Kovalev came out with bad intentions looking to load up on his shots and the clever movement from Chilemba made the Russian pay with counter jabs through the guard or just being able to hit Kovalev. But a clever move from the Russian was to target the body and pounded away trying to slow down Chilemba for the later rounds. The sixth round was in a way back to basics for Kovalev who focused on his left hand to find his range and get comfortable and take some control positional wise in the ring. For the most part of the round this was the case but at times the Russian got sloppy and was countered with sharp lefts from Chilemba which seemed to unsettle his ryhtm yet again.
The seventh round was a big round for Kovalev with a beautifully set up knock down of Chilemba . Kovalev landed a left to liver which took all the wind out of Chilemba as he backed up and dropped his guard against the ropes. Kovalev lunged with his big right hand that badly hurt Chilemba. Kovalev started to tire visibly in the eighth, but was still seeking the knockdown was able to feint jabs then land two hard jabs which Chilemba could not defend against. Chilemba staggered around and tried to hold on to survive the ordeal. There just wasn’t enough time in the round for Kovalev to take another shot to get Chilemba out of the fight.
The 9th 10th, 11th, 12th were very similar rounds with the fact that both men were visibly fatigued and seemed resigned to their roles in the fight. Kovalev does the pressing and Chilemba dose the retreating.
However in the aftermath of the fight Kovalev made it clear he was not 100% healthy in the lead up to the bout: “There were obviously some moments during the training with regards to my health, because I got a cold and I didn’t say anything, so the information wouldn’t get to Chilemba and might work against me.” This shows that Kovalev is a fighting man of true stock.
So all eyes will turn to November for the highly anticipated matchup between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward. To be held in Las Vegas, Nevada at the T-Mobile arena.