Kovalev reportedly set to return on Usyk-Fury card February 17

The former unified world light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev is set to return on the upcoming ‘Ring of Fire’ card headlined by the undisputed world heavyweight title fight between Oleksandr Usyk and Tyson Fury on the 17th of February in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with reporting originating from ESPN’s Mike Coppinger. 

Kovalev (35-4-1, 29KOs) is slated to face unbeaten Swedish cruiserweight Robin Safar (16-0, 12KOs), who was last in action on ProBox TV at the Whitesands event centre in Plant City, Florida, with a fifth-round win against DeShon Webster.

If and when Kovalev is confirmed as featuring on the bill in Saudi Arabia, the ‘Krusher’ will be 40 years old, and his fight against Safar would be only the second time he stepped in the ring following his 11th knockout defeat to Canelo Alvarez in November, 2019. 

The Russian first became a light-heavyweight champion in 2013, dominating and halting then-WBO holder Nathan Cleverly in Cardiff, Wales, in four rounds.

The Russian racked up eight title defences and unified his WBO title with the WBA and IBF world titles following his victory over Bernard Hopkins in 2014.

Kovalev also defeated Jean Pascal twice before back-to-back defeats against Andre Ward in 2016 and 2017, losing and failing to recapture his world titles against the American, who announced his retirement following the rematch. 

Kovalev won the WBO world title, lost it, and recaptured the belt before his 2019 clash with Alvarez, with Canelo narrowly ahead on the judges’ scorecards before his 11th-round knockout win.

However, the former world champion has since been plighted by inactivity and has cited injury and personal issues, which has seen Kovalev ruled out of action for sizable periods following his defeat to Alvarez.

Kovalev last featured in Inglewood, California, against Tervel Pulev in a cruiserweight contest which took place in May of 2022.