Kovalev Needs Trainer To Be The Right Guy
With Sergey Kovalev set to return to the ring this upcoming weekend against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title, all the talk has been about his relationship with his former trainer. The ongoing controversy between Kovalev and former trainer John David Jackson has caused most fans to overlook the fact that there’s a new chief second in the Russian’s corner.
After rumors of everybody from Joel Diaz to Virgil Hunter being possible options, Kovalev announced just 3 weeks ago that Abror Tursunpulatov, of Uzbekistan, would be his new trainer. Tursunpulatov is a renowned amateur coach from Uzbekistan that helped lead the country to an outstanding 2016 Olympics in Rio. He currently trains 2016 Gold medalist off that Uzbekistan team, Fazliddin Gaibnazarov, now that he became a professional.
While the Uzbekistani native is still fairly inexperienced at the pro level Kovalev and his team seem more than satisfied with the addition.
Egis Klimas, Kovalev’s manager, said he was pleased that Kovalev has settled on a new trainer and is excited about the pick heading into the vacant title fight with Shabranskyy, 19-1, 16 KO.
“I’m just happy that Sergey found someone who can train him, and I’m happy that Sergey is listening to somebody, which means a lot because I believe the trainer needs to have the respect from the fighter and it can’t be the other way,” Klimas said. “If fighter goes to the trainer and tells him what to do, he’s not the trainer. The trainer needs to tell the fighter what should be done.
“Abror is a real trainer. He’s not a showman going for the camera and getting into the press talking about it. He’s just helping Sergey to get him into better shape and to get him ready for boxing. And he reminds Sergey of his old trainer from the beginning in Russia, especially because Sergey wants to hear Russian language spoken in his corner. That is important to him.”
Jackson did not speak Russian. But according to recent reports that was the least of the problems between the trainer and fighter. Jackson has been harsh in his criticism of Kovalev and his training habits. When we asked Kovalev about Jackson he responded by saying;
“I got nothing from him, didn’t feel him helping in ring, everything was constructed myself in preparation. I don’t want to say bad words but he not nice guy and not enough coach”
Tursunpulatov vows that fight fans will see a new and improved Kovalev, but still one who has his heavy, hard-hitting hands intact and with better wind.
“I don’t think he’s going to get tired by the fourth or fifth or eighth round like the last fight,” he says.
Tursunpulatov continues: “I don’t have any pressure [as Kovalev’s new trainer], but of course I want to prove that he’s the best.”
In a bout most consider to be fairly one-sided in Kovalev’s favor the most interesting part may be the one minute intervals between rounds in the corner. Kovalev needs Tursunpulatov to be the right guy because no matter how “easy” this fight may appear to be, it is arguably the most important fight of his career after suffering his first two losses as a pro, back to back against Andre Ward. Whether or not he is the same guy he was prior to November 19th 2016 remains to be seen.
By; Chris Henderson