Monday, July 11, 2016

Sergey Kovalev vs. Isaac Chilemba: The Krusher Dominates

By Peter Silkov

Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1, 26koes) retained his WBO, WBA, and IBF, world light-heavyweight championship against Isaac Chilemba (24-4-2, 10koes) today, July 11, at the DIVS Palace of Sports, in Ekaterinburg, Russia.  It was one of ‘The Krusher’s’ more awkward defences against an opponent who spent most of the fight on the retreat.  Chilemba is an elusive counter puncher, who can slip, spoil, and generally frustrate his opponents, and he did just this against the champion for the most part of 12 rounds.  Yet, Chilemba did little offensive work of his own against the always-pressing Kovalev.

The fight followed the same pattern for most of its 12 rounds, with Kovalev the aggressor against the defensive minded challenger.  For the most part, Kovalev showed great patience against an adversary who was constantly looking to avoid any heavy fistic engagements.  Chilemba’s strategy seemed clear, to try and catch Sergey on the counter. Although he landed at times with his fast hands, Chilemba’s counters were too infrequent to make a dent on the champion.

While the champion was always the aggressor, he was taking his time early on, and some of the early rounds were close, as the fight resembled a technical chess match.  This changed however in the 7th round when Kovalev went up a gear and floored Chilemba heavily.  To his credit, the challenger lasted the round, despite being under a heavy assault by ‘The Krusher.’

From then on, Kovalev was pretty dominant, and he had Chilemba hurt again in the 8th and 10 rounds. Chilemba is strong and durable and seemed determined to hang onto his record of never having been stopped during his career.  In the 12th and final round Kovalev seemed to be doing his best to score a stoppage, but Chilemba fought back, and the two engaged in the best exchanges of the fight in the closing minutes.

Kovalev won by a unanimous point’s verdict, with scores of 117-110, 116-111, and 118-109.  The Boxing Glove had ‘The Krusher’ winning by 10 rounds to 2, with Chilemba sneaking the 4th and 6th rounds with his crafty counter-punches.

This was a memorable night for Sergey in many ways as it was his first appearance in a Russian ring since 2011, when he was involved the tragic fight with Roman Simakov that resulted in Simakov’s death.  In what was a brave move by Kovalev, he chose to reappear in front of his home fans in the very same arena where he had fought Simakov 4 and a half years ago.

There were times during his fight with Chilemba when Sergey seemed to be a little distracted and even nervous, and if these emotions were connected to his memories of Simakov, it would hardly be surprising.  In his post fight interview Kovalev paid tribute to the memory of Simakov.  At that moment he seemed suddenly to be the most relaxed he had been all night, perhaps he felt that at last a burden had been lifted from him, at least a little bit.

‘The Krusher’ will now face the highly regarded Andre Ward in November.  At first glance, Chilemba may be seen to have exposed some flaws in the champion, by frustrating him at times and forcing him to go the distance.  Ward will have to be much more positive than Chilemba was today if he is to beat Kovalev. It is that need to be positive, which will mean that Kovalev will have more opportunities to land his bombs, and even a defensive master such as Ward will give Kovalev more opportunities to land his bombs than Isaac Chilemba did.

In the end, the 12-round that Kovalev traveled today against Chilemba are just what he needed in the run up to his show down with ‘The Son of God.’

Watch the fight:

Copyright © 2016 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to

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