Photos: Lebedev-Kalenga weigh-in

by
Photos: Lebedev-Kalenga weigh-in
Photos: Lebedev-Kalenga weigh-in. Photos Reynaldo Sánchez

Photos: Lebedev-Kalenga weigh-in

by
Photos: Lebedev-Kalenga weigh-in
Photos: Lebedev-Kalenga weigh-in. Photos Reynaldo Sánchez

Photos: Lebedev-Kalenga weigh-in
Photos: Lebedev-Kalenga weigh-in. Photos Reynaldo Sánchez

Denis Lebedev is set for the fourth defense of his WBA cruiserweight championship, as the knockout artist from Russia embraces a tough challenge from Youri Kalenga.

Both fighters made weight ahead of Friday’s showdown in Moscow, Russia. Lebedev tipped the scales at a fighting ready 198.6 lbs., while Kalenga packed 198.8 lbs. into his chiseled physique.

The bout will mark the sixth time in the past seven fights that Kalenga (21-1, 14KOs)—a Congolese boxer who lives in France—is forced to fight on the road. The streaking 27-year old who has won five straight is coming off of a 12th round stoppage of previously unbeaten Denton Daley last November in Ontario, Canada.

Kalenga first entered the title picture with a mild upset of Mateusz Masternak, scoring a well-earned split decision last June in Monte Carlo.

Lebedev (26-2, 20KOs) has long served as a fixture among the top cruiserweights in the world, though his stay at or near the top has been spent victimized by controversy. Both of his career losses came under dubious circumstances, beginning with a hotly contested split decision at the hands of long-reigning titlist Marco Huck in Dec. ’10.

A pair of wins over badly faded former greats James Toney and Roy Jones comprised of Lebedev’s 2012 campaign as he awaited a showdown with Guillermo Jones. The veteran from Panama held a cruiserweight title for years but defended about as often as the Olympics roll around, an inactive period that led to his being demoted to champion in recess while Lebedev was upgraded from “interim” to “regular” titlist.

By the time they finally met in May ’13, the two produced a war for the ages, won by Jones via 11th round knockout. The win was seriously tainted, however, as Jones tested positive for a banned substance. While the loss for whatever reason remains on Lebedev’s record, the belt also remained around his waist. Efforts to settle their score in the ring last May were thwarted when Jones was once again popped for banned substances, this time turning up in pre-fight random drug testing.

The result of the test came at the 11th hour, forcing the cancellation of their rematch literally as both fighters were in the arena and warming up in their respective dressing rooms. The closest Lebedev would get to revenge was his team successfully suing Jones and promoter Don King, winning a lengthy court battle last fall.

Lebedev’s lone ring action since that debacle came last September, scoring a 2nd round knockout of previously unbeaten Pawel Kolodziej in Moscow.

The well-traveled Kalenga fights for the first time in Russia and for a full version of a cruiserweight title.


Sergey Kovalev, WBA Boxer of the Month

Sergey Kovalev, WBA Boxer of the Month



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