Hard-hitting Sergey Kovalev (35-4-1, 29 KOs) has had his share of success, capturing three versions of the world light-heavyweight title, becoming a unified champion with marque wins over Nathan Cleverly, Bernard Hopkins, and Jean Pascal during his reign. 

Despite those victories, alongside his 2019 thriller against Anthony Yarde, the Russian has also fallen short against Andre Ward twice, in 2016 and 2017, in a controversial unanimous decision and an eighth-round stoppage partially influenced by low blows.  

Just a little over two months after his topsy-turvy win over Yarde, Kovalev suffered a brutal knockout defeat at the hands of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, as a right hook crashed into the Russian to heavily drop the then WBO world light-heavyweight champion to bring his second title reign to a close. 

Following the defeat, Kovalev activated the self-destruct button and the former unified world champion has fought just once since, a unanimous points win over 10 rounds in May of 2022 against Tervel Pulev at the L.A. Forum. 

Now aged 41, Kovalev returns to the ring in Riyadh at cruiserweight to face the unbeaten Robin Sirwan Safar (16-0, 12 KOs) over 10 rounds on Saturday. 

“I don’t want to make any predictions; I just want to go into the ring, show my best and show what I can do,” Kovalev told the Through The Ropes Youtube channel.

“I have done a 10-week training camp for this fight. But I have also been doing the sparring, workouts and physical conditioning since my last fight two years ago. 

“I have still been working and learning in the gym, so I hope I can show those watching my best boxing possible.”

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