Sergey Kovalev Outpoints Chilemba To Set Up Andre Ward Fight

Light-heavyweight destroyer Sergey Kovalev came through a hard fought fight with Issac Chilemba to set up a mouthwatering showdown with American Andre Ward in November.

Sergey Kovalev (30-0-1-26KO) continued his winning streak today in Russia but was made to work hard for the win.

On his return to an arena that previously had bad memories for him, Kovalev put these behind him but didn’t look at his very best, it must be said.

The first round got off to a decent pace from both men, although no real clean punches were landed. Perhaps Kovalev edged it based on aggression and work rate, but ever so slightly.

The second round saw better work, with Chilemba showing how awkward he can be at times, while Kovalev was landing some very solid jabs and right hands in spots.

The third round was a close one with Chilemba for my dollar doing enough to win it based on his movement, doubling up of the jab and one particularly nice over hand right – although Kovalev finished strong.

Chilemba’s jab really came into play in the fourth and for the most part, Kovalev couldn’t deal with Chilemba’s distance control and range, who was boxing beautifully on the back foot at times, snapping the head back of Kovalev with the jab on more than one occasion.

After shipping a nice uppercut in the early part of round five from Chilemba, Kovalev came back with some nice shots towards the end of the three minutes, in a very hard to score round.

Kovalev started to up the pace a bit in the sixth round which proved to be exciting in that it saw the punch of the fight to this point landed by Chilemba – a massive left hook catching Kovalev walking straight onto it. The Russian took it well however and continued to march forward.

The 7th round brought about the near end of the fight, almost, when the power of the right hand came through dropping Chilemba hard to the canvas. A perfectly placed short right hand.

To his credit Chilemba somehow got back to his feet and the referee allowed the bout to continue, with Chilemba just about surviving the end of the round, but very badly hurt.

The 8th round was another huge round for Kovalev who proceeded to land some big shots on Chilemba towards the end of the round.

Chilemba looked to have recovered a bit in the ninth round as Kovalev seemed a bit tired, with perhaps some of the best punches actually coming from Chilemba in this round.

The 10th round saw much of the same, with little coming from a tired Kovalev who looked to possibly be taking a breather, with the pace of the bout going fairly flat.

As the eleventh round rolled in Kovalev dug in a bit, as did Chilemba, in a scrappy three minutes that I gave to Kovalev by a very slight margin based on the weight of his shots, which were more scoring blows.

Kovalev went for the grandstand finish in the 12th and final round but credit again must be afforded to Chilemba for surviving the onslaught, despite bleeding heavily from the nose.

A mutual touching of gloves after the final bell signified the mutual respect for both men.

The scorecards read out in unanimous favour for the champion and home fighter Sergey Kovalev – who now moves on to a huge showdown with Andre Ward in November.

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