Meteor story hits home for Kovalev

The surreal story about the meteor that hit the town of Chelyabinsk in the Ural Mountain range in Russia on Friday afternoon probably caught the attention of people around the world because it is not something you hear about every day.

More than 1,000 people were injured when the space rock -- which weighed about 7,000 tons and was the size of a bus, according to NASA -- hit the town. According to NASA, it entered the atmosphere traveling 33,000 miles per hour (10 miles per second), blew into pieces between 18 and 32 miles above ground and created a blast that had

the force of 20 atomic bombs. It did serious damage throughout the town.

To light heavyweight contender Sergey Kovalev (20-0-1, 17 KOs) it was a big, big deal. Kovalev, who lives in Florida, is from Chelyabinsk, which is about 900 miles east of Moscow, near the border of Kazakhstan, and still has family and friends there.

After the explosion, Kovalev said he got a lot of calls and texts asking about his family.

"I was shocked to find out what happened in my home town Chelyabinsk," Kovalev said. "The news shook not just Russia, but the whole world. I contacted my family and friends as soon I heard about it. Everyone was OK, just scared because they did not know what happened.

"In Ural mountain region we never have any kind of Mother Nature disasters. When the meteor shower started exploding in the sky and hit, the earth started shaking. My family said people got very scared and did not know what to do. I am thankful no one was killed. I thank God my family and friends were safe. I am very sorry for the people in my hometown who were injured and suffered distress from this natural disaster. I am grateful to all of the people who have contacted me and my promoters to express their concern."

Kovalev emerged as a serious 175-pound contender when he dusted former titlist Gabriel Campillo (21-5-1, 7 KOs) for a third-round knockout on Jan. 19 in a nationally televised fight.