If one man from Russia has made a statement this year then that man was WBO Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1, 20).
The "Krusher" as he is known, has gone from relative unknown to one of the sports most feared fighters in the space of just 12 months. Although it has just been a year, Kovalev has had one of the most destructive years in boxing destroying a trio of credible foes in the form of Gabriel Campillo (TKO3), Cornelius White (TKO3) and most recently Nathan Cleverly (TKO 4).
Had it not been for the fact Adonis Stevenson had managed to get his hands on a shop-worn Chad Dawson it's fair to say that Kovalev would have been seen as the Light Heavyweight division's saviour. Instead however, Kovalev is a man on a collision course with Stevenson, if, and only if, both men can continue to destroy opponents as they have done this year.
Kovalev will be hoping to continue his destructive run when he returns to the ring on November 30th as he attempts to make the first defense of his WBO world title and battles Ukrainian Ismayl Sillakh (21-1, 17).
Sillakh, a man who has promised much but failed to deliver so far in his career, is a fighter who is skilled, has solid power, and impressive hand speed for a Light Heavyweight. Unfortunately he also possess a questionable mentality in the ring and a chin that has already cost him against a Russian fighter.
At his best Sillakh looks like he has the potential to give anyone nightmares. He combines power and speed excellently, he has a very impressive amateur pedigree and when he lets loose it looks like few can live with him. At his worst however he looks like a fighter going through the motions and a man who is more a talented athlete than a fighter. That sounds harsh but sadly it's the way he looks.
Whilst Sillakh is a fighter who looks like he's going through the motions it's fair to say that Kovalev looks like a wrecking ball, and one that even Miley Cyrus would be afraid of getting close to. Fighters who get hit by Kovalev know they've been hit, and whilst many big punchers are wild and reckless Kovalev is busy and accurate breaking people down with his heavy artillery which is potent to say the least.
It can be very, very easy to fall in love with power punchers. We all know that. But Kovalev is more than just a power puncher, he's a skilled, busy fighter who is as much about his skills as power.
If Sillakh attempts to go to war with Kovalev there will only be one winner, and it'll be over very quickly. If Sillakh attempts to box, he does have a chance. Unfortunately for the Ukrainian however there is little chance of him seeing out more than a few rounds with Kovalev who will connect and then move in for the finish and seeing off Sillakh inside 6 rounds.
Interestingly on the same card Adonis Stevenson will be fighting Tony Bellew. We, like many in the boxing world are hoping that 2014 will see a Kovalev/Stevenson bout, though of course both will need to win their contests here for that to be a possibility.
World Title Previews
The biggest fights get broken down as we try to predict who will come out on top in the up coming world title bouts.