Sergey Kovalev has been negotiating to defend his light heavyweight title haul against top 168 pounder Andre Ward for the last few weeks, promoter Kathy Duva confirmed to WBN on Wednesday.
The big-punching Russian, who currently holds the IBF, WBO and WBA belts at 175, had been contemplating a return home to fight in Moscow this year, although those plans have now been put on hold as discussions with Ward intensify.
Ward, 31, is moving up from his lofty perch as the best super middleweight in the world to take on the undefeated Kovalev, who is much revered as one of the pound for pound best and currently in the WBN Top 5.
The ‘S.O.G’ recently defeated British fighter Paul Smith Jnr following over a year and a half out of action and is keen to make up for lost time against 32 year-old Kovalev in one of the highest profile bouts of 2016.
“We have been speaking to Andre Ward about fighting Sergey Kovalev for weeks and our talks have been quite amicable,” Duva exclusively revealed to World Boxing News.
“Regarding the date and venue, that is still being discussed and I don’t like to talk about ongoing negotiations as that is rarely productive, but I can say talks are going well.”
Kovalev has long been aiming for a unification with WBC champion Adonis Stevenson even though both sides have struggled to overcome the TV network issue that sees one ply his trade on HBO and the other fight on rivals Showtime.
Should the Ward clash make it over the line though, that would more than make up for the frustration surrounding the Stevenson encounter and be a classic boxer versus puncher battle for the sport to anticipate next year.