Unbeaten light heavyweight beltholder Sergey Kovalev is working "to be more strategic, offensively" for the March 29 defense of his WBO title against unbeaten Cedric Agnew, the Russian puncher's trainer John David Jackson says.
Having been called "The Russian Wrecking Ball," "The Krusher" and even "Frankenstein" by IBF light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins, Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 knockouts) is 11-0-1 with 11 stoppage victories in his past 12 fights.
"Sergey is on course. He is a really hard worker. He is definitely training hard for this fight," Jackson stated in a prepared release from Kovalev's camp in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"He is doing what he is supposed to do. The key to this fight for Sergey is to be more strategic, offensively. There isn't much film on Agnew but we are approaching this fight like we do all the others. Sergey will do his thing."
A 30-year-old puncher from Chelyabinsk, Russia, Kovalev faces Agnew (26-0, 13 KOs) at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Kovalev was last in the ring in November when he scored a second-round knockout of Ismayl Sillakh.
Agnew, 27, is coming off a unanimous decision last April over Yusaf Mack, a 34-year-old journeyman who has been stopped by Glen Johnson, Tavoris Cloud and Carl Froch.
Before facing Mack, Agnew earned a six-round unanimous decision in December 2012 over Alfredo Contreras, who is among 14 fighters on Agnew's resume whose records were below .500 when they fought him.
When he faces Agnew on HBO's Boxing After Dark, it will be Kovalev's first appearance in a main event. As a result, Kovalev is experiencing a larger than usual media turnout in camp.
"Once a fighter becomes more comfortable with his status as a world champion, some can be tempted to lose focus and get distracted by all the attention," said Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva of Main Events. "He can't always walk down the street without being recognized anymore but luckily, Sergey has managed to stay focused on Agnew and winning on March 29."
Kovalev echoed Duva's sentiment about having reporters and cameras around.
"I am already used to them being there.They don't bother me at all," said Kovalev. "I feel good. Everything is normal. I feel no pressure and everything is going by the book."