Sergey Kovalev can out-box Andre Ward says head trainer John David Jackson
By Neel Khagram
Sergey Kovalev can out-box Andre Ward when the pair re-match says head trainer John David Jackson.
The ‘Krusher’ lost a close decision in November despite registering a knockdown in round 2, but gets the chance to avenge his first professional defeat at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on June 18, live on Sky Sports.
In losing, Kovalev surrendered his WBA, IBF and WBO light-heavyweight belts, but Jackson believes his fighter will reign again if he focuses on his boxing ability this time around.
“Just put rounds in the bank,” Jackson said to boxingscene.com.
“I tell him, ‘If you do the second half of the second fight like you did the first half of the first fight, you should be victorious. You proved my point. I told people you could out-box Ward’ and in the first half of he was doing that.
“If he can do that in the second half of this fight and just stay on course, he can win the fight because he can out-box him. His jab is stronger and he has shown that.
Ward is a former Olympic gold medallist and has not lost a boxing fight of any description since a teenager. His victory in the first encounter meant he became a two-weight king despite being sent to the canvas.
And whilst Jackson has stressed they are not solely looking for the knockout, he feels Ward will not be able to handle the ferocity of Kovalev’s punches if the Russian performs like he did against Nathan Cleverly.
“I never stress [the knockout] and even in this fight I’m not stressing it.
“But like when he fought Nathan Cleverly, he hit Nathan everywhere – in his arms, in his shoulders, wherever he could hit him. And you saw all over his body was red. By the fourth round, the fight was over. Nathan could barely keep his arms up.
“If he does that with Ward, then it should make the fight easier for Sergey.”
Bradley Saunders returns to boxing as he did not want to finish with ‘any regrets’
By Neel Khagram
Bradley Saunders is returning to boxing following a severe hand injury as he did not want to walk away with “any regrets.”
The 31-year-old (12-1-KO9) has not fought since a disqualification loss to Renald Garrido in September 2015, but will end a 19 month absence from the ring on the June 23 NXTGEN show at the Walker Dome in Newcastle, live on the Sky Sports, as he looks to kick-start his career in front of his home crowd.
“The injuries have just laid me off, but I don’t want to live my life with any regrets,” Saunders told British Boxers.
“I could quite happily retire now, never box again and be proud of what I’ve done, but I just don’t want to get to a certain age and just wish I’d had a few more fights.
“I know it’s my last crack of the whip now, I just hope I have a good one.”
Saunders enjoyed a stellar amateur career, representing Great Britain at the 2008 Beijing Olympics as well as winning gold at the 2009 European Championships and silver at the 2010 Commonwealth Games.
However, he believes he should have turned professional sooner, and the enforced break will serve him well in the long run.
“I’ve boxed since being a kid, since 8 years old, I love the sport, but I just stayed amateur far too long, too many amateur fights,“ Saunders said. “It’s been nice being normal, eating what I’ve wanted but I just keep thinking about boxing.
“I’ve matured a lot- I’m 31, and not an old 31. I’ve had a very short lifespan as a professional.
“I’m just gonna fight and see where I end up. I’ll fight anybody; I’ve always said I’ll fight anybody.”
Saunders fights on a bill topped by 2016 Olympian Josh Kelly who makes his third outing as a professional against Tom Whitfield, whilst former world champion Stuart Hall and cruiserweight contenders Simon Vallily and Warren Baister appear on an action packed show in the North-East.