After he recaptured one of his old Light-Heavyweight World Titles in his last outing, Sergey Kovalev is determined to return to the top.
On March 3rd, the Russian defends his WBO crown against countryman Igor Mikhalkin in New York, exclusively live in the UK and Ireland on BoxNation.
Kovalev knocked out Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in November to reclaim one of the belts he lost to Andre Ward 12 months earlier.
After Ward's retirement the division is wide open, and Kovalev is open to meeting the likes of Artur Beterbiev, who holds the IBF strap, or WBA Champion Dmitry Bivol, who also fights on the bill.
"I need one more fight to show that I can fight with the best fighters," Kovalev admitted to Boxing Scene. "I think that after this fight, my fights will be with strong, strong opponents in the Light-Heavyweight division, maybe title unification fights.
"I don’t wanna look behind the back of Igor Mikhalkin because right now my next fight is March 3rd and I should be focused on this fight," added 'The Krusher'.
Mikhalkin picked up the lesser regarded IBO belt in his last fight, and is on a 10-fight winning streak since his only career defeat in 2010. Kovalev believes the all-Russian match-up will lead to an entertaining tussle.
"It’s gonna be interesting because he’s Russian and I’m Russian. We have the same mentality. We don’t go in there to take a step back. I’m going to fight [coming] forward and I think Igor will do that, too.
"He’s a good boxer. He’s very motivated right now for this title fight," Kovalev continued. "He never fought for a real belt, with a real Champion. I think it’s gonna be a very, very good fight."
Buy BoxNation to watch Sergey Kovalev v Igor Mikhalkin and Dmitry Bivol v Sullivan Barrera on March 3rd.