Hard-hitting Adonis Stevenson puts his World Boxing Council light heavyweight title on the line on Friday for a third time when he faces tough Russian challenger Dmitry Sukhotsky in Quebec City.
Stevenson has held the crown since snatching it from Chad Dawson in June 2013, and while it`s not the unification bout with Russian Sergey Kovalev that most fight fans would prefer, the Canadian champion said he`d have to be on his guard.
"He`s not here as a tourist," said the 37-year-old champion. "He`s a tough guy who has trained for 12 rounds. He`s in top condition, and I`ll definitely have to be careful."
But Stevenson, who was born in Haiti, still thinks he can be the first to knock out Sukhotsky, who is 22-2 with 16 KOs.
"I`m not going to rush in," said Stevenson, a southpaw who boasts a record of 24-1 with 20 KOs. "I`m going to take my time to work him over and then finish him off."
Sukhotsky, 33, will be getting his second title shot. He lost a unanimous decision to Juergen Braehmer for the German`s World Boxing Organization belt in 2009.
"I feel in great shape and I`m glad I have the opportunity to fight for a world title," Sukhotsky said, adding that he wouldn`t be intimidated by the fiercely pro-Stevenson crowd.
"The better boxer will win," said the Russian.
Although he says he can`t afford to look past Sukhotsky, Stevenson acknowledged that Kovalev is on his radar. He wants a 2015 fight with the Russian who owns the WBO, International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association light heavyweight belts.
Kovalev is next scheduled to meet former world champion Jean Pascal, another Haitian-born Canadian, in Montreal on March 14.