WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev recently completed the first phase of his training camp in the mountains of Armenia as he prepares to face Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba on July 11 in his first fight in his home country of Russia since 2011. The champ will return to the DIVS Sports Palace in Ekaterinburg, Russia to defend his three titles as part of the opening night ceremonies for the International Industry Trade Fair “INNOPROM-2016.”
The event, sponsored by Russian Copper Company and Igor Altushkin and presented by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with German Titov Promotions, will be televised in the United States at 10:15 p.m. ET/PT (same day tape-delayed) exclusively on HBO.
This is the first time Krusher has trained outside the United States since he won his first WBO crown against Nathan Cleverly in 2013. For his much-anticipated Russian homecoming, the 33-year old from Chelyabinsk, Russia opted to change-up his training camp in preparation for Chilemba. According to Sergey, “I try to look for mountainous regions which provide the right elevation and terrain for my conditioning training (biking, running). Armenia is well-known for their mountains and terrain, plus it was also a good opportunity to get away from the attention, to focus solely on training.”
Kovalev was not alone in Armenia. He said, “The Russian Boxing Olympic team had their training camp in the same area (Tsaghkadzor, Armenia) as well, so I had good company around me, the right training mentality and focus level. Help from the local trainers and Russian national team boxers was quite handy with finding the new trails for my runs and biking.”
Although Sergey changed the location of training camp, his team and routine remains the same. He added, “I am known for sticking with my plans, for adhering to the established system that works for me. New places, but old routines. I will have my trainer, John David Jackson, joining me in Ekaterinburg’s sport base “Kurganovo”, along with my long-time friend and training assistant Eduard Abzalimov from Chelyabinsk and massage therapist. I will have my sparring sessions (will have three partners for that) and mitt work.”
It has been a long-time dream of Sergey’s to return to Russia and bring his belts home to his fans. He is grateful to those people who helped make his dream a reality. He said, “The main sponsor of the event, Igor Altushkin of “Russian Copper Company”, manager of the sport base “Kurganovo”, Vitaliy Kochetkov, and the governor of Sverdlovskaya Oblast, Evgeniy Kuivashev, have all put a lot of effort in exceeding all of my expectations with making the training atmosphere as comfortable as it could get. I am very thankful for their involvement with the preparation and making my team and I feel very welcome in Ekaterinburg. It truly feels as if the entire country is behind my back in this fight! I can tell I’m fighting at home. This support means a lot for me.”