Sergey Kovalev to end 29-month layoff against Tervel Pulev on May 14

Sergey Kovalev is not fighting Meng Fanlong after all.

The former light heavyweight champion will instead battle undefeated Bulgarian Tervel Pulev in a 10-round cruiserweight fight set to headline a Triller Fight Club pay-per-view show on May 14, likely at The Forum in Inglewood, California.

Russia’s Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs), who will turn 39 on April 2, was initially supposed to face China’s Fanlong at a catchweight of 188 pounds, but the 34-year-old opted to fight another ex-light heavyweight titlist, Jean Pascal, who will fight for the first time since testing failing two Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) random drug tests last year for four different performance-enhancing substances: drostanolone, drostanolone metabolite, epitrenbolone, and erythropoietin, also known as EPO.

Pascal’s embarrassing series of events caused his removal from what was slated to be a 12-round rematch with fellow former light heavyweight champion Badou Jack on the Floyd Mayweather-Logan Paul undercard last June at the Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Pascal-Fanlong, which will headline a card promoted by Probox on May 20 in Plant City, Florida, will also be contested at the light heavyweight limit of 175 pounds. This will be favorable to Fanlong, who hasn’t weighed in above 181¼ pounds and, therefore, should have an easier time making weight.

Kovalev has not fought in the past 27 months since losing his WBO 175-pound title to Saul’ Canelo Alvarez via 11th-round knockout in November 2019 in Las Vegas.

His layoff, like Pascal’s, was extended due to his poor actions. Kovalev was supposed to square off against then-unbeaten Uzbekistan native Bektemir Melukuziev (8-1, 6 KOs) in a January 2021 DAZN main event versus then-unbeaten Uzbekistan native Bektemir Melikuziev (8-1, 6 KOs). However, Kovalev was scratched from the card after testing positive for synthetic testosterone.

Pulev (16-0, 13 KOs), who captured bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games and is the younger brother of former heavyweight contender, Kubrat Pulev, is coming off a ninth-round TKO victory against Namibia’s Vikapita Meroro.

Share this story

must see