Stevenson eyes title sweep but Bika looms first

AFP
Canada's Adonis Stevenson (R) fights Samoa's Warren Fuavailili in Melbourne, March 23, 2006 (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)

Canada's Adonis Stevenson (R) fights Samoa's Warren Fuavailili in Melbourne, March 23, 2006

Canada's Adonis Stevenson (R) fights Samoa's Warren Fuavailili in Melbourne, March 23, 2006 (AFP Photo/Emmanuel Dunand)

Quebec City (AFP) - Canadian southpaw Adonis Stevenson says he is ready to face unbeaten Russian Sergey Kovalev for an undisputed light heavyweight title showdown, but he must dispatch Australian challenger Sakio Bika first.

Haitian-born Stevenson, who will defend his World Boxing Council light heavyweight crown against Cameroon-born Bika on April 4 at Quebec City, isn't taking his challenger lightly.

"I'm not worried about Kovalev right now. I'm not going to think about unified. That's for after," Stevenson said. "Bika is in my face now. I don't see anybody but him now. I will be ready for him. My focus is on him."

Stevenson missed a chance to fight a rival champion last year, forcing Kovalev to face Bernard Hopkins last November in a fight he won by unanimous decision to unify the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organization and International Boxing Federation crowns.

Now if he beats Bika, Stevenson's next mandatory WBC title opponent would be Kovalev.

"I'm ready. I'll let my team and (manager) Al Haymon care about that," Stevenson said. "Now it's Bika. After that Kovalev. To unify the titles is no problem for me. I should have those titles."

Stevenson said he was unimpressed at Kovalev's title defence earlier this month in Montreal against Jean Pascal, despite the Russian being the first foe to flatten the Canadian on his way to an eighth-round stoppage.

Stevenson insists he is not worrying about getting a shot at the undisputed crown.

"I'm not going to put pressure on me," Stevenson said. "I'm the man in the division. Adonis is the man at light heavyweight."

Stevenson, 25-1 with 21 knockouts, has won 12 fights in a row over the past five years since a 2010 loss to Darnell Boone, a defeat Stevenson avenged in 2013. He will make his fifth title defence against Bika, 32-6 with three drawn and 21 knockouts.

"This is a big opportunity for me," Bika said. "I'll be confident and stay positive I can beat Adonis on April 4. I'm looking forward to becoming a two-time world champion."

Bika won the WBC super middleweight title in 2013 with a majority decision over Mexico's Marco Periban but lost the title last August to unbeaten American Anthony Dirrell and decided to move up in weight class from 168 to 175 pounds.

"I see it as a new challenge to go up to light heavy and fight the big boys," Bika said. "It's a challenge to me to see how I can handle the big boys."

Stevenson figures to be a big first test.

"I know he will keep the pressure on me," Stevenson said. "I can go 12 rounds. I know Bika is a tough opponent but I'm always looking for the knockout."

What to Read Next