PHOTO: DAVID SPAGNOLO/MAIN EVENTS
Two-time light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) puts his WBO Light Heavyweight World Title on the line against Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) at the Etess Arena in the brand new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City on Saturday, August 4, 2018. The event, promoted by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Groupe Yvon Michel, will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10 PM. ET/PT. This will mark Kovalev’s 14th appearance on HBO®with Alvarez making his network debut.
Kovalev vs. Alvarez will be the first professional boxing event to take place at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City, which opens on June 28. Kovalev, 35, of Chelyabinsk, Russia, will be fighting for the fourth time in Atlantic City, including his 2014 victory over future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins, which unified three of the four light heavyweight world titles. The only light heavyweight world title Kovalev has not had the chance to win belongs to WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson.
Undefeated Eleider Alvarez has yet to fight Stevenson as well. Alvarez defeated Isaac Chilemba in 2015 to secure the WBC mandatory position and the opportunity to face Adonis for his piece of the light heavyweight crown. Since then, Alvarez is 4-0 with notable wins over former world champions Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute. After more than two years since becoming the mandatory contender and almost one year since his last fight, Stevenson has not agreed to fight Alvarez, so Eleider jumped at the opportunity to face Kovalev for the WBO World Title when the offer arrived.
Kovalev explained, “Alvarez has earned his title shot but Chickenson dodged him; just like he dodged me. I want to fight the best in my division. Alvarez took the fight with me without hesitation. I respect that and I am excited to face him in my return to Atlantic City.”
Egis Klimas, Sergey’s manager, added, “Eleider Alvarez is a great competitor. That is probably why Stevenson refused to fight him. Sergey will face anyone, any time, any place. If Adonis is too scared to take the fight, Sergey is happy to step up and fight Alvarez. He earned this opportunity.”
Main Events’ CEO and Kovalev’s promoter, Kathy Duva, said, “Entering our 40th year in this business, we are so excited to return to Atlantic City and honored to be the first fight in this beautiful new venue. Atlantic City, and the Etess Arena in particular, were home to so many amazing fights with Evander Holyfield, Michael Moorer, and the late, great Arturo Gatti, just to name a few. The Atlantic City fans have always come out to support Sergey and, fortuitously, this event will take place during the French-Canadian Construction Holiday when the Jersey Shore fills up with vacationers from Quebec. We’re going to have a great crowd on August 4th!”
According to Alvarez, “I am extremely happy. I said yes as soon as I had the offer! I waited for a long time to get a shot at a world title. I don’t want to hear about Adonis Stevenson anymore: I am focused on Sergey Kovalev! I am really motivated, it is a huge fight against a really high-class opponent. Kovalev is right now the best fighter of the division. I wanted to fight in a world championship bout to show my talent and now I finally have the opportunity. I know it is a really hard fight, but I will work hard to become world champion. This is my dream. I am a boxer who loves challenge and who performs at my best when I am challenged. I now have what I want. Kovalev is an all-around solid fighter, with a good jab, good technique and a hard puncher, but my trainer knows him well! I have no doubt, I will be the next WBO champion.”
Alvarez’s promoter, Yvon Michel, added, “The experience that Eleider Alvarez has now makes gives him solid chances to win that important clash! He is fighting with passion and adrenaline. He deserves his world title fight in front of his crowd. I am convinced that Eleider Alvarez has what it takes to beat Sergey Kovalev and to bring a third light heavyweight title back in Quebec!”
Eleider is managed by Stéphane Lépine, who explained, “The offer from Kathy Duva arrived and we were really happy. Fighting against Sergey Kovalev, an established and recognized name of the boxing world, on HBO, we couldn’t ask for any better opportunity! For me, it was a no brainer; we had to accept that amazing offer. We were also too tired to wait for Adonis Stevenson.”
Marc Ramsay, Eleider’s trainer, has faced Kovalev before as the trainer for Jean Pascal. He said, “‘Eleider is an experienced fighter, he has fought in other opponent’s backyard, he also fought in front of huge home crowd. We were waiting for a title shot for so long, he is now very ready to perform. The objective for him when we started together in the pro ranks was to become world championship fight. That is a promise I made him when he arrived in Montreal from Colombia. I am really confident that Eleider have what it takes to become world champion.”
“Sergey Kovalev will face his toughest opponent in over a year in undefeated Eleider Alvarez when World Championship Boxing returns to Atlantic City,” said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. “The boardwalk has been the site of many memorable moments throughout the years and we look forward to this light heavyweight title showdown on August 4.”