SERGEY KOVALEV and Andre Ward have both signed a contract agreeing to fight each other in an irresistible light-heavyweight clash later this year.
November 19 is the planned date, though a venue is yet to be finalised. We understand New York and Las Vegas are both very much in the mix.
Kathy Duva of Main Events, who promote Kovalev, had previously stated the pair had agreed to fight and Sergey’s manager, Egis Klimas, confirmed to Boxing News that the superfight is signed.
“The contract has been signed between Kovalev vs Ward. They both have one more fight before they meet, Sergey will fight [Isaac] Chilemba on July 11, not sure when and where Andre will fight,” he said.
“If everything will go as planned they should meet November 19.”
Kovalev will defend his IBF, WBA and WBO titles against Chilemba in Ekaterinburg, Russia, which is roughly 140 miles north of the town Kovalev hails from, Kopeysk.
The unbeaten 33-year-old, widely regarded as the best light-heavyweight and one of the best fighters in the world, returns to the arena he fought Roman Simakov in, in 2011. Simakov was stopped in seven rounds but slipped into unconsciousness, before tragically dying three days later.
Kovalev subsequently donated the entire purse from his next fight to Simakov’s family.
In his last outing, Chilemba dropped a 12-round decision to Eleider Alvarez in an eliminator to fight for Adonis Stevenson’s WBC strap.
The Malawi-born South African is a slippery customer and almost impossible to look good against, with a style not too dissimilar to Ward’s – though he is several levels below the former super-middleweight boss.
HBO, who have broadcast Kovalev’s fights in the US for some time now, have not yet committed to the Chilemba fight, but are expected to pick up Sergey’s monster meeting with Ward.
Ward made his first official outing at light-heavyweight with a 12-round routing of unbeaten Sullivan Barrera in March, having cleaned out the 168lb division with wins over Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler and Arthur Abraham.
There is no doubt about it, Kovalev-Ward is one of the best fights in boxing, and perhaps the most competitive, with the winner having a legitimate claim to being the best fighter on the planet.
Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, told us last year that he wanted his charge to take on the fearsome Russian, and also revealed that Andre intends to fight three times this year. His win over Barrera was his first contest in 2016, and it remains to be seen if he will definitely fight before taking on Kovalev.