Kovalev vs Chilemba Boxing BannerJuly may feel a little dry in terms of marquee name dustups, but Russia’s Sergey Kovalev is here to keep most of us happy this weekend. Even if, well, his opponent isn’t hugely threatening. The ‘Krusher’ will be back in action, nonetheless, and most of us can agree that challenger Issac Chilemba is a technically sound live body at least. Kovalev will defend his WBA, WBO and IBF Light Heavyweight titles at the DIVS, Ekaterinburg, Russia.

Is Kovalev (29-0-1, 26 KO) about to be on the receiving end of some nasty keyboard warrior verbatim? Probably, but name one elite fighter who doesn’t get stick nowadays. Personally, I’m feeling more or less indifferent about the whole Kovalev vs Chilemba matchup. While Chilemba has proven to be a decent operator, it’s unlikely his patient, counter-punching style is going to be enough to trouble Kovalev, an intelligent puncher who seems to have no trouble walking down slick fighters to land bombs.

Kovalev’s two encounters with Jean Pascal, which saw the brutish Kovalev breakdown and stop Pascal on both occasions, were plenty telling about what the man is about. Kovalev is generally regarded as one of the most feared men in the sport along with fellow puncher Gennady Golovkin, not just because Kovalev possesses dynamite, but because of his sadistic nature in the ring. Kovalev is a true badass, isn’t out to act up for cameras, and is just…well, a very bad man.

If Kovalev gets by Chilemba (24-3-2, 10 KO), which is pretty likely, he’ll be meeting with Andre Ward on November 19th in Las Vegas. So long as Ward gets by Alexander Brand on August 6th, his own gap-filler, there shouldn’t be any reason for this super fight to suddenly vaporize. Right now, according to BoxRec and a few other sources, the fight seems to be inked in. I don’t need to tell you that’s a good thing.

Andre Ward, now 32, has been darting in and out of the fight game since winning the 2011 Super Six Tournament Final, so a lucrative showdown with Kovalev seems to be worth the high-risk element. For Kovalev, it’s the same deal minus the fact he’s been a whole lot more active. A victory for either man will enhance their legacies, putting the cherry on the cake for the supremely talented Ward, and thrusting Kovalev considerably closer to some Hall of Fame-type credentials worth talking about.

Getting back to this weekend’s fight. Kovalev, Boxing Base’s No.1 Light Heavyweight, has been making pretty big waves on the boxing scene thanks to his ruthless prowess and educated pressure, widening his international audience since throttling unbeaten WBO champ Nathan Cleverly in 2013. Kovalev’s title defenses haven’t always been the toughest, but one-sided beatdowns of Cedric Agnew, Blake Caparello, Jean Pascal (twice), Nadjib Mohammedi, and even the legendary Bernard Hopkins speak volumes of Kovalev’s domination at 175 pounds.

Chilemba, BB’s No.7, may be a real outsider in this fight, but he deserves a fair shake here. Chilemba can fight, is plenty fluent in defense and countering, and holds a solid form in most outings. Chilemba’s clash with Eleider Alvarez wasn’t exactly crowd-pleasing, but he did a good job of making a top contender look a whole lot more ordinary. Chilemba has plenty of experience behind him against decent opposition, notably giving Tony Bellew plenty to deal with in 2013 twice, and most recently against the aforementioned Alvarez.

Chilemba – this is the last time I’ll mention it – is a heavy outsider here, but is at least a difficult target to nail flush. So, with that in mind, there’s a chance the man could, just maybe, raise a few eyebrows by hearing the final bell. Which in itself would be an achievement. It might sound like I’m reaching a bit here, and I probably am, but Chilemba is yet to be stopped as a pro. It’s a fact. Throwin’ it out there. Do what you will with it.

Fight Time & TV Channel: You can catch Kovalev vs Chilemba Live on Boxnation (UK) from 6PM GMT on July 11th, with a Junior Middleweight bout between Magomed Kurbanov and Sasha Yengoyan playing co-feature.

Sergey Kovalev vs Issac Chilemba: Extended Tale of the Tape, Facts & Stats

Note: Advantageous stats are indicated in red (some may be subjective), and championship stats refer to ‘fully fledged world titles’ only.

Kovalev vs Chilemba



Russia … South Africa


33 … 29


6’ 0” … 6′ 2″


73″ … 73″


Orthodox … Orthodox



2009 … 2005


30 … 29

Wins / Defeats / Draws / KOs

29-0-1, 26 KO … 24-3-2, 10 KO

Knockout Ratio

87% (26) … 34% (10)

Last 5 Fights

5-0, 4 KO … 4-1, 1 KO

Last 10 Fights

10-0, 9 KO … 7-2-1, 2 KO

1st Round Knockouts

6 … 1

2nd Round Knockouts

9 … 4

3rd Round Knockouts

5 … 0

4th – 6th Round Knockouts

1 … 3

Defeats by Knockout

0 … 0

Knockdowns Suffered

1 … 2

Rounds Boxed

102 … 222

12-Rounders Completed

1 … 9

Current Winning Streak

30 … 0

Undefeated Fighters Defeated

3 … 6

Latest Win

Jean Pascal (RTD 7) … Vasily Lepikhin (UD 10)

World Title Bout Experience

Wins / Defeats / Draws / KOs

8-0-0, 7 KO … NA

Successful Defenses

7 … NA

Longest Championship Reign

08/2013 – Present … NA

Major Titles Won

WBO, WBA, IBF (175 lbs) … NA

Major Titles Currently Held

WBO, WBA, IBF (175 lbs) … NA

Boxing Base Top 10 World Ranking

No.1 … No.7

Notable Performances

KOVALEV: Jean Pascal (RTD 7, TKO 8), Nadjib Mohammedi (KO 3), Bernard Hopkins (UD 12), Blake Caparello (TKO 2), Cedric Agnew (KO 7), Ismayl Sillah (KO 2), Nathan Cleverly (TKO 4), Cornelius White (TKO 3)

CHILEMBA: Eleider Alvarez (LOSS: MD 12), Vasily Lepikhin (UD 10), Cory Cummings (TKO 7), Tony Bellew (Draw, LOSS: UD 12), Edison Miranda (UD 10), Jameson Bostic (KO 2), Vikapita Meroro (UD 12), Maxim Vlasov (UD 10), Doudou Ngumbu (UD 12)


What’s your take on BB’s Kovalev vs Chilemba Tale of the Tape, Facts & Stats? And how do you see the action playing out in Russia? We’ll have Live Results Coverage here on Boxing Base, plus Live Round by Round Updates via @BoxingBase on Twitter.