WBO lightweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev is "happy to be back in the ring" against Blake Caparello and "looking forward" to facing an "unbeaten fighter" on August 2 at the Revel Resort in Atlantic City, Main Events announced on Tuesday.
"I am happy to be back in the ring on August 2, and…looking forward to face an unbeaten fighter," said Kovalev, 31 (24-0-1, 22 knockouts). "I know he will be coming to fight and to take my title away but it belongs to me and I won't let that happen. I already started my preparation for this bout and will be ready and in good condition when time comes to step into ring."
Kovalev will fight Caparrello (19-0-1, 6 KOs) as part of an HBO-televised split-site tripleheader that will include a welterweight battle between Brandon Rios and Diego Chaves and a clash between undefeated junior welterweights Jessie Vargas and Anton Novikov from the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, according to Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum.
"We would love for Sergey to fight all of the marquee names that have been avoiding him but they're obviously afraid. So kudos to Caparello for stepping up," said Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events, Kovalev's promoter.
"Sergey really is a fighter first. He just wants to be in the ring all the time, testing himself against the best. We are very grateful for the support we've gotten from HBO for Kovalev and our plan for him is to continue to fight the best opponent who's willing to get in the ring."
Kovalev is 12-0-1 with 12 knockouts in his past 13 fights, including a fourth round stoppage that dethroned previously unbeaten WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly in August 2013.
"It is difficult to find an opponent to step in the ring with Sergey," said John David Jackson, Kovalev's trainer. "Hopefully, this Australian kid can step up to the plate. We are here to put on a show for the public. We know he is going to be a tough opponent but Sergey is up to the challenge."
In returning to Atlantic City, Kovalev is back where he scored his last victory, a seventh round knockout of previously undefeated southpaw Cedric Agnew in March. Kovalev scored three knockdowns during his win over Agnew, which followed a second round knockout of Ismayl Sillakh last November.
"We can't wait to see Sergey in the ring again and hope for his victory with his third defense. He is building a fan base in Atlantic City and an audience on HBO," said Egis Klimas, Kovalev's manager. "According to ratings on HBO from his last fight, many people want to see him in the ring. I am happy that he is becoming more popular with every bout, not only in Russia but also here in United States."
A 27-year-old southpaw, Caparello's past two wins have been unanimous decisions over Allan Green and Elvir Muriqi in October and January, respectively.
"Kovalev is one of boxing's hardest punchers but Blake Caparello is one of the best pure boxers in the 175-pound division," said Lou DiBella, Caparello's promoter. "This is a classic matchu-p between boxer and puncher and Blake has the skills to give Kovalev fits."
Main Events matchmaker, Jolene Mizzone, supports DiBella's assertion.
"Caparello is a southpaw boxer who has the ability to outsmart a straight forward-type of puncher like Sergey," said Mizzone. "Caparello is undefeated and hungry, which makes him a dangerous opponent. If Caparello can take Sergey's power, then he could last longer than people might think."
Caparello represents the third undefeated fighter Kovalev will face in his last four fights, the first being Cleverly.
"I'm ready for this fight," said Caparello. "You ain't seen nothing yet. I won't disappoint."