WBC mandates Sergey Kovalev to fight Thabiso Mchunu in cruiserweight title eliminator
The Ring has learned that former light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev will be returning as a cruiserweight to fight Thabiso Mchunu in a title eliminator, as recently approved by the WBC Board of Governors.
A former WBO, IBF and WBA light heavyweight titlist, Kovalev (35-4-1, 29 knockouts) has not fought since he defeated Tervel Pulev by 10-round decision in his cruiserweight debut on May 14, 2022, in Los Angeles, California. The South African southpaw Mchunu (23-6, 13 KOs) is the No. 5-ranked cruiserweight by The Ring and is coming off a split-decision loss to WBC cruiserweight titlist Ilunga Junior Makabu on January 20, 2022.
If there is no agreement between parties, the WBC will conduct a purse offer on Friday, February 24, 2023, at the WBC headquarters in Mexico City under the WBC Purse Offer Procedures.
“This is very big for Kovalev; he has a chance to be a champion again in the cruiserweight division and holding a WBC title, which he has never held before,” said Egis Klimas, Kovalev’s manager from Turkey and three-time BWAA Manager of the Year. “Kovalev has a good light heavyweight career and we’re bringing him back to be a champion again as a cruiserweight. He never had a chance to fight for the WBC belt as a light heavyweight, and we’re looking to have win a WBC belt as a cruiserweight. We’re happy that he’s fighting again.”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.