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Sergey Kovalev reflects on decision win over Isaac Chilemba

Sergey Kovalev talks about a training camp illness that hampered his performance against Isaac Chilemba and using this fight in preparation for Andre Ward.

Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev might have not had a performance for the ages when he took on Isaac Chilemba yesterday, but Kovalev alludes to getting sick during training camp which didn't have him firing on all cylinders for the duration of the bout. Here's what he had to say after his unanimous decision win:

"There were obviously some moments during the training with regards to my health, because I got a cold and I didn't say anything, so the information wouldn't get to Chilemba and might work against me.

"There was no aim to knock him out, but the main aim was to gain experience from this fight for the next fight in November in Las Vegas."

Speaking of his next fight against Andre Ward, Kovalev says that Isaac Chilemba was specifically chosen in order to prepare him for Ward's style, as the two are expected to meet later this fall.

"My promoter and manager chose a fighter that is similar to Andre Ward's style, so that I will be prepared for the fight with Ward. When they told me that my opponent will be Chilemba because his style is similar to Andre Ward's style, I was asking myself what's so similar to his style?

"Their height is different, so at first I didn't see much, but after the fight I realize that, in fact, he does have similar style to Andre Ward's: waiting out and counter-attacks, he is not going in much, he waits in defense and waits for the right moment."

Of course now there will be even more speculation as to how effective Kovalev will be against a master craftsman like Ward if Chilemba was able to give him some issues, despite his unanimous decision win yesterday.

Will a better training camp provide better results for Kovalev? Is this upcoming fight just destined to be a tough style match-up for Kovalev because, well, Ward is just stylistically difficult for everyone? Has your opinion on how the fight will play out changed at all? Sound off in the comments below.