Russian Sergey Kovalev returns to the ring for the first time since losing his WBO light heavyweight title to Canelo Alvarez. Will he return to winning ways against Bektemir Melikuziev on January 30, or will we start to see the decline of a very illustrious career?
Sergey Kovalev v Bektemir Melikuziev Betting Tips & Predictions
The last time Sergey Kovalev was in the Squared Circle, he was shaking off the cobwebs after being knocked out by Canelo Alvarez on the way to losing his WBO light heavyweight title.
That was only his fourth defeat of a 39-fight career, and at the age of 37 he knows that another defeat could see his career come to an end. Kovalev will be determined to prove he is still a big draw in the world of boxing, following his defeat to Canelo he was accused of taking dive by former boxers on Twitter.
There has never been any proof that the fight was fixed, but Kovalev will be looking to put in a dominating performance in a bid to put all those rumours to bed.
I cannot see Kovalev losing this one. He is up against Melikuziev from Uzbekistan who is unbeaten after just six professional fights. The 24-year-old is a silver medallist from the 2016 Rio Olympics, but he has never faced an opponent like Kovalev before, and I honestly believe he will be way out of his depth.
Out of Kovalev’s 34 wins, he has won 29 of them by way of knockout and I feel that number 30 will be added to that record at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on January 30. Melikuziev will be lucky to land a glove on Kovalev, and I am backing ‘The Krusher’ to end this one by the end of the fourth round.
Road To Sergey Kovalev v Bektemir Melikuziev
Kovalev has been out of the ring and out of the spotlight for 14 months, so don’t expect Melikuziev to be the best opponent he has ever faced. There is no way ‘The Krusher’ would have taken his comeback fight against a seasoned veteran.
Melikuziev is just 24 years of age and only turned professional in June 2019. Since then, the former amateur has had six professional bouts and has won five of them by knockout. He might have a good career ahead of him, but he will not be in Kovalev’s league just yet.
The Uzbekistan fighter has only ever gone the distance once and that was a 10-round unanimous decision win over Vaughn Alexander in December 2019.
This will be his first ever 12-fight contest, and it’s safe to say he will not go the distance. Kovalev, who is a former three-time WBO champions, as well as a former WBA (Super) and IBF title holder, will still believe he can challenge for another world title.
The Russian will be determined to prove to everyone that he isn’t over the hill just yet. If he does win this fight, then expect his next opponent to have more than six fights under his belt.
Sergey Kovalev v Bektemir Melikuziev Fighter’s Predictions
Sergey Kovalev: “I am glad that after a long break, I am starting my journey back to the title of world champion. The fact that this fight is scheduled to be in Russia gives me even more motivation and strength. I want to please my fellow countrymen again with my boxing and a beautiful victory.”
Bektemir Melikuziev: “Sergey Kovalev is one of the biggest boxing stars of the last decade. This is exactly the type of opportunity I have wanted since turning professional, and I will be very well prepared for victory on January 30!”