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Hard-hitting Kovalev back on NBC

Sergey Kovalev fights Lionell Thompson in a light

Sergey Kovalev fights Lionell Thompson in a light heavyweight bout. Photo Credit: Chris Toney

The light heavyweight division is really starting to heat up. Newly minted WBC champ Adonis Stevenson made a huge impact on HBO last weekend and all future hall-of-famer Bernard Hopkins does is keep winning.

Unbeaten contender Sergey Kovalev (20-0-1, 18 KOs) has certainly inserted himself into the conversation. He's looking to make another statement on Friday night when he meets Cornelius White (21-1, 16 KOs) on NBC Sports Network's Fight Night. The winner will be the mandatory challenger for the IBF title. Hopkins is the current IBF champ.

"I think it's fair to say that there is more excitement in the light heavyweight division and more talent than there has been since when guys like John Conteh, Marvin Johnson, Matthew Saad Muhammad, Dwight Qawi and Michael Spinks were fighting," said Kathy Duva, of Main Events, who promotes Kovalev. "The light heavyweight division at that time was the glamor division in boxing and I think we are headed there again."

Hopkins defends his title against Karo Murat July 13 at The Barclays Center. The Kovalev-White winner should be meeting the winner of that contest. The only loss on White's record was a 2011 TKO at the hands of fellow contender Don George.

"I was undefeated once, I took a loss and had to fight my way back," he said "We worked hard for this opportunity. A lot is at stake. You have to take advantage of this opportunity because you don't get them too often in this boxing business."

The power punching Kovalev has stopped eight of his last nine opponents. Only one of those victims has gone past the third round. This will be the Russian's third appearance on NBC Sports Network.

"He is one of those people who I think is going to rule the light heavyweight division for a long time," Duva said of Kovalev.

The main event features undefeated heavyweight Bryant Jennings (16-0, 8 KOs) against Andrey Fedosov (24-2, 19 KOs).

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