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Sergey Kovalev: The light heavyweight 'Gennady Golovkin?'

Joseph Herron Updated
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Tonight, from the Colisee de Quebec in Quebec City, Canada, current WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (22-0-1, 20 KOs) will make his first title defense against once heralded prospect Ismayl Sillakh (21-1, 17 KOs) from Ukraine in a brilliant double-header slated to air on HBO’s Boxing After Dark.

Although the hard punching title holder is currently fighting under the tutelage of former two division world champion John David Jackson, world renowned fight trainer Abel Sanchez poses a very intriguing question to every die-hard fan of boxing:

“Does Sergey Kovalev’s style remind you of anyone?”

If you guessed current WBA Middleweight Champion Gennady Golovkin, it‘s for a very good reason.

“I started working with Kovalev after he was almost beaten by Darnell Boone back in October of 2010,” states Abel Sanchez. “I worked with him for about a year and a half after that. He recorded eight knock-outs while training at The Summit Gym, and more importantly developed the style that he uses today."


“Kovalev is a very strong, technical fighter who has sneaky power. He doesn’t have the kind of pound for pound power that Gennady Golovkin possesses, but he has sneaky power and is an excellent craftsman in the ring.”

Admittedly, Kovalev’s current trainer hasn’t had to change much upon working with the undefeated WBO champion.

“I don’t try to change anything Kovalev does because his style is very unique,” confesses John David Jackson. “It’s not conventional. He punches from different angles. One thing he does exceptionally well is he sits on almost all of his punches.”

According to Coach Sanchez, Sergey’s ability to sit down on most of his shots stems from balance.

“We primarily worked on improving his footwork and balance,” claims The Summit Gym proprietor. “He is a very smart fighter who has the ability to throw power shots in combination while cutting off the ring effectively.”

The veteran fight trainer also recollects his memorable sparring sessions with Triple G during this stay at Big Bear Lake, California.


“Kovalev was afraid of Golovkin when he was in the ring with him,” recalls Abel Sanchez. “I couldn’t spar them too much because Kovalev showed Gennady too much respect in the ring."

"When he did spar Gennady, Sergey would fall apart and wouldn’t pose much of a challenge for Golovkin. It was either too much respect or too much fear.”

Abel believes that the separation between the two champions in the gym was based on ring IQ.

“Gennady is one of the smartest fighters in boxing. He is not only a devastating puncher, but he’s also a cerebral fighter who is among the best in boxing at setting traps for his opposition.

Triple G can fight at multiple ranges. Because he is a smaller-sized Middleweight, I taught him how to fight proficiently on the inside and also how to maneuver his way effectively inside an opponent’s defense. This always gave Kovalev a lot of problems in the gym.”

Despite having some deficiencies on the inside, the Krusher is one of the most effective aggressors in boxing today.

“Kovalev is an excellent fighter,” professes the veteran fight trainer. “He is one of the best technicians in the ring. Kovalev is going to force you to make mistakes in the ring, and then he’s going to pound you because he’s going to come after you."

"Anyone who tries to fight Kovalev at a distance in serious trouble.”

Sergey Kovalev - Highlights / Knockouts

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