- "I must break you."
- ―Ivan Drago to Rocky Balboa[src]
Ivan Drago (born November 3rd, 1961) is a Russian former professional boxer, Olympian, an Infantry Captain for the Soviet Army, and was the main antagonist in Rocky IV and a secondary antagonist in Creed II
Drago was an amateur boxer and Olympic gold medallist from the Soviet Union, armed with a punch over 2,000 psi. As seen in the events from Rocky Legends, Drago was first scouted by Nicolai Koloff in Russia, Koloff was tasked with finding a fighter that could be built and sent to the United States in order to become champion. At the time, the Soviet Union and the United States were at war with each other and the Soviet Union wanted to prove their superiority. In 1985 (Rocky IV), Drago would fight one of America's greatest fighters Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, destroying him with ease and knocking him out in the second round, resulting in the death of Creed. Creed's close friend Rocky Balboa took it upon himself to avenge Creed and agreed to a fight against Drago in Russia, Drago lost the fight, making it his first and only loss ever. Drago was shamed by the USSR and exiled from Russia, forcing him to move to Ukraine. He was divorced by his wife Ludmilla Vobet and was forced to raise his son, Viktor, on his own. Drago trained his son ruthlessly for the next 20 years, attempting to make him a better boxer than he was.
In 2018 (Creed II), Drago issued a challenge to newly crowned Heavyweight Champion Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed on the behalf of his son, hoping to avenge his loss to Balboa all those years ago. Drago's son Viktor pummelled Creed in their first encounter but lost to Creed via disqualification because he punched Creed when he was down. Viktor had a rematch with Adonis in Russia, the fight was a war with both men destroying each other. In the final round, Viktor was very fatigued and had nothing left, he was unable to defend himself, causing Drago to throw the towel in for his son. Drago hugged his son, telling him he is proud of him. Drago is now focusing on developing a deeper bond with his son, training side-by-side with him.
The Soviet Union was extremely arrogant in Drago's abilities; however, Drago never bragged about it. His wife, Ludmilla Drago, spoke for him at press conferences, with Drago simply staring at the press without saying anything. He was given several nicknames, such as the Siberian Bull, the Siberian Express, and even Death from Above, referring to Drago's height and Apollo's death at the hands of Drago.
After the fall of Soviet Union, he had a son, Viktor Drago who succeeded him in his boxing career.
Ivan Drago was born on November 3rd, 1961 in Moscow, Russia, there isn’t much information surrounding Drago’s childhood, but one would assume that he was raised with discipline, due to growing up in such a rough environment. Drago would eventually join the Soviet Army becoming an Infantry Captain, it was during this time that boxing trainer Sergei Igor Rimsky and political adviser Nicolai Koloff were scouting the soldiers in order to find a worthy athlete. Drago fought fellow soldier Alexei Baluk defeating him and catching the eye of prospects, from here Drago was trained in Soviet Russia and went on to defeat a series of other boxers. He had an impressive amateur record of 131 wins, 0 losses, 0 draws and 93 knockouts. 
The ultimate fight in the USSR is on the deck of a warship, where Drago is pitted against the best boxer in the Red Navy. After Drago wins that fight, his Soviet trainers were convinced that he would beat any boxer in the world. They flew to America in hopes of booking a title fight against the World Champion Rocky Balboa, convinced Drago could defeat the American and take the title. This was announced at the press conference held as soon as Drago got off the plane. This press conference was seen by retired professional boxer Apollo Creed. Drago holds an Olympic gold medal and holds a strongest punch of over 2100 psi, his average was 1850 psi. The average psi for a heavyweight boxer is only 700 psi.
Drago was married to another athlete, Ludmilla Vobet Drago who is a double gold medalist in swimming. She is more articulate than Drago, who seldom talks, and always spoke on his behalf at press conferences and interviews. She dismissed allegations of Drago's steroid use, explaining her husband's freakish size and strength by saying, "he is like your Popeye. He eats his spinach every day!" Following his loss to Rocky Balboa, Ludmilla divorced Drago and left him to raise their son, Viktor, on his own. Viktor succeeded his father and pursued a career in boxing.
Arrival in America
In 1985, undefeated amateur Russian world boxing champion, 24-year-old Ivan Drago arrived in the United States along with his wife Ludmilla Vobet Drago, political advisor Nicolai Koloff, and trainers Sergei Igor Rimsky, and Manuel Vega. Drago held a post-conference right off the plane to announce his entry into the American professional boxing world. At the press conference, Drago didn't say a word, he sat in silence while his wife Ludmilla answered all the questions about him. Drago's political advisor Nicolai issued the challenged to have an exhibition bout with the ''American Champion'' the current Heavyweight Champion at the time, Rocky Balboa. Nicolai is asked if Drago can withstand the pressure of fighting someone like Balboa to which Nicolai responds that nobody can match Drago's strength, endurance, or aggressiveness, making him indestructible. Former Heavyweight Champion and retired boxer Apollo Creed watched the press conference from his home, looking visibly frustrated and annoyed with the comments. Drago and his team held another press conference from their training facility, showcasing the advanced technology they're using to train him. Nicolai drops a few snide insults towards the Americans, stating he hopes they can educate them on body chemistry among other things. The press questions if Dragos has used any anabolic steroids to which Ludmilla replies ''he is like your Popeye, he eats his spinach!'' The conference culminates with Nicolai informing the press that the average heavyweight boxer averages 700 pounds of pressure per square inch when punching, Drago then demonstrates a punch that totals at 1850 psi. Nicolai states that whatever he hits, he destroys.
Challenged by Apollo Creed
42 year old, Apollo Creed came out of a five-year retirement to challenge Drago to an exhibition match, which would be promoted by Rocky Balboa. Drago and his team accepted the challenge and agreed on a venue and date. A pre-fight press conference was held with Apollo cracking jokes and making fun of the Russian, stating that he is going to teach Drago to box ''The American way'', Apollo was asked about Drago's inexperience to which Apollo replied ''Some people just have to learn the hard way!'' while smirking. The press then attempted to ask Drago a question, asking him his thoughts on Apollo, Drago just stared at the press and didn't say a word, prompting Apollo to say ''his tongue didn't make it through customs!'' The press continued to laugh at Drago while he sat there in silence with the rest of his team until Ludmilla claimed that this would be a great victory, causing Apollo to take a more serious tone and say ''You don't really think your gonna whip me?'' Lumilla then states that they didn't come here to lose, Apollo then says that Drago is going to lose and lose royally! Nicolai becomes fed up with the jokes and calls Apollo a has-been, Apollo becomes infuriated by this and jumps out of his seat, pointing fingers at Nicolai, Drago then gets up, and a small melee ensues, with Drago pushing Apollo as the conference comes to an end.
On the night of the fight, Ivan Drago stood in the boxing ring alone and in the dark, unknown to him the ring rose up from under the ground and into the arena with him standing in it. The ring came up while Living in America was being performed by James Brown and Apollo Creed was making an elaborate entrance, dancing his way around all the showgirls, dancers and James Brown! Drago looked confused by all the entertainment, but kept his composure and backed into his corner, awaiting Creed to enter the ring. Creed continued showboating to the crowd and dancing around before finally entering the ring as James Brown finished the song. The audience erupted for Creed while booing Drago. The two fighters met in the middle of the ring with the referee going over the rules, Creed seemed confident and excited telling Drago ''It's time to go to school!'' They then touched gloves with Drago slamming his hands down onto Creed's and saying ''You will lose'' causing Creed's expression to become more worrying.
Killing Creed in the ring
It was predicted by the majority of sports analysis that Creed would defeat Drago because of his outweighing experience and his ability to win under pressure. In the early stages of the first round, Creed orbited the Russian, Drago stood in the middle of the ring and Creed danced around him, keeping distance to avoid any strikes from Drago, but slipping in every second or two to land a quick jab on Drago! Creed was doing well, landing combinations while Drago stood back cocking his right hand and awaiting the right time to strike, Creed continued at this pace for a bit longer until Drago's trainer Sergei yelled for him to strike, causing Drago to take a step forward, closing the distance, and landing a huge straight right hand that pushed Apollo right into the ropes! Drago then unloaded on Creed for the remainder of the round, trapping Creed in the corner and unloading with body shots and right hooks, bloodying Creed! Drago continued after the sound of the bell, throwing two more punches to the bloodied Creed. Creed's trainer Tony Evers ran into the ring and yelled at Drago's team, telling them it's meant to be an exhibition. In the second round, Drago stood with his hands down and slipped Creed's punches, intimidating Creed. Finally, Drago countered and unloaded on Creed, connecting with countless hooks and strikes, eventually dropping Creed and winning the fight by KO. Balboa swopped into the ring and held Apollo in his arms while Drago was being interviewed by the press, Drago said, ''I defeat anybody... I defeat anyman... I defeat real champion..'' and then in regards to Creed's fatal injuries, Drago said, ''If he dies... he dies.''
Balboa vs. Drago
After the fight, Balboa did whatever he could to get a fight with Drago, but the boxing commission stated that they would not sanction the fight, urging Balboa to wait two years. Eventually, Balboa was able to work out a deal with Drago's team to have the fight take place in the USSR on Christmas Day for no money whatsoever. Balboa made it clear to everyone that he would attempt to avenge Creed's death at the hands of Drago, now labelled "Death from Above". During the press conference, the Soviets belittled Balboa, claiming that Drago would win for certain, due to Drago's superior genetics, superior strength, and superior training.
After the conference, Drago flew back to the USSR and began his training for the fight. Drago is placed in an incredible gym with fifteen to twenty scientists and trainers all monitoring and focusing on him! He is seen lifting extreme amounts of weight, using various machines for his arms and legs, even running around a private indoor track, whilst his personal trainers tracked the minutiae of Drago's biology, monitoring even his heart rate. Drago also spars and knocks out his opponent very quickly. He is then seen being injected with anabolic steroids, despite the earlier denial by the Soviets that he didn't use steroids.
On the night of the fight, Balboa made his way to the ring first and to the surprise of nobody was hugely booed by the audience. Drago came out second and was praised with support from his home crowd, he entered the ring and nodded to his superiors who were sitting in the upper decks of the crowd. The national anthem of the USSR was then played as they unveiled a huge mural of their star athlete Ivan Drago! The fighters touch gloves and like his previous encounter with Creed, Drago slammed his gloves down on top of Balboa's and said ''I must break you.''
Defeated by Rocky Balboa
In the first round of the fight, Drago had the upper-hand and came out firing! Unlike his fight with Apollo where he waited and timed his shots, Drago stormed out of his corner and charged Balboa, trapping him in his own corner and unloading with body shots and hooks! Balboa was able to land a few body shots, prompting Drago to smile and point at his stomach, asking Balboa to bring it! Drago counters and continues to unload, eventually knocking Balboa down with ease! It's clear that Drago is looking to finish the fight as quickly as possible. By the end of the first round, Rocky was already cut and bleeding with Drago hungry for more. Despite Drago's impressive performance in the first round, his trainers place an exceptional amount of pressure on him, expecting Drago to dominate Balboa more. In the second round, Drago continually lands blows on Balboa, and knocks him down again, much to the chagrin of Balboa's trainers, and Adrian Balboa, but the turning point comes when Balboa catches Drago with a right hook that opens up a bad cut on his cheek! Drago seems stunned by the fact that he has been cut open and backs away, causing Balboa to charge at him, unloading with rights and lefts before trapping the Russian in the corner and unloading with body shots. Balboa hits Drago with a few shots after the bell, causing Drago to grab him by the throat and punch him with a straight right, Rocky then picks Drago up and slams him on the ground, the short melee is quickly broken up by the trainers of each fighter. In rounds three, four, and five, Drago continued to have the upper hand, dominating Balboa by using his reach advantage, Balboa was unable to cut the distance and Drago continued to unload with heavy strikes on Balboa, but with every punch that Drago threw, Balboa kept coming back for more and more. He wouldn't go down. Balboa withstood everything that Drago threw at him during those rounds.
In round six, Balboa began to cut off the distance and make an impact on Drago, trapping him in the corner and unloading with a flurry of body shots that were clearly hurting the Russian! This is the first time in the fight that Balboa was making a real dint on Drago apart from the cut in the second round. At the beginning of the seventh round, the president of the USSR Mikhail Gorbachev looked over with a worrying look to Nikolai Koloff who was seated next to him. Drago had a dominating round, but it was called upon by Rocky because Balboa began taunting at Drago to bring it, similar to how he did in his fight against Clubber Lang. The fight became fairly evenly matched in the next few rounds with both fighters landing their power punches, stringing together combos, and continuing to batter their opponent. In the twelfth round, a small portion of the audience began chanting for Rocky, respecting him for his courage and spirit. At the end of the fourteenth round, Nicolai Koloff became so furious that he left his seat in the upper deck and personally got to Drago's corner, and started to rant at him for how his performance was weak, to the point where the Soviet's started cheering for Balboa, and how Drago needed to win, or else. Drago's temper then snaps, prompting him to grab and hold Koloff by the neck, and throw him into the audience, exclaiming "I fight for me! FOR ME!", contrarily to how Soviets suggested that Drago was fighting for his country. Drago then commences the final round with Balboa.
Balboa continued taunting Drago, asking him to throw real punches, which prompted the then infuriated Drago to throw more punches, but to little avail. Much like Lang, Drago fatigued severely, rendering him helpless as Balboa rallied several punches against Drago, uppercutting him into a knockdown. Due to his fatigue, Drago was incapable of answering the count and nearly fell out of the ring. He was awarded the loss via knockout in the fifteenth and final round.
Events Between Rocky IV & Creed II
Exiled from Russia and Training his son
After his loss to Rocky, Drago was disgraced by the USSR. He was shamed and kicked out of the country, tainting the Drago name forever. Ludmilla divorced him and left him to raise their son, Viktor, on his own. Following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Drago fought pro for a short time while raising his son. During this time, he accumulated a record of 28-1 (28 KO) before winning a portion of the Heavyweight title. However, Drago never unified the title or fought the very top contenders because of promotional politics. He eventually retired, forced to live in Ukraine, where he lived a modest life while relentlessly training Viktor to be an even more formidable boxer than he was.
Setting up Adonis Johnson Creed vs. Viktor Drago
In 2018, the Drago name is still shamed on by the Russians, leaving Ivan Drago alone in Ukraine with his son, Viktor Drago. Drago has raised his son in hate and has continued to train his son ruthlessly for the last 20 years. Drago knows that there isn't anything he himself can do to get back into the Russians good graces, but he knows that he can use his son in order to be accepted back by them. Drago trains his son without remorse, pushing him, and often looking down on him for not doing better. The first example of this is when Viktor is running in front of Ivan's truck, and Ivan continues to pick the speed up, eventually cutting in front of Viktor and telling him "When I tell you to run faster, you run faster'' followed by slamming his car door. Ivan's son Viktor has been fighting in Ukraine for some time, winning all of his fights by KO. Along the way, Ivan and Viktor met boxing promoter, Buddy Marcelle.
After Viktor knocked out another opponent in Ukraine and Adonis Creed won the World Heavyweight Championship, Ivan, Viktor, and promoter Buddy Marcelle travel to Philadelphia to issue a challenge to Adonis for the title. Drago visits Rocky in his restaurant to tell him how Rocky cost him everything, from his standing in the country all the way to his wife leaving him. He tells Balboa that they treated him like a stray dog, kicking him out. He mentions that the loss ruined his life and then threatens to avenge that loss through Viktor, telling Rocky, "My son will break your boy."
Training Viktor for the fight
Adonis accepts the fight and Rocky refuses to train him, Drago intensifies Viktor's training regiment. During the weigh-in, Ivan taunts Adonis, telling him he is much smaller than Apollo was. Adonis shoves Ivan, prompting Viktor to shove Adonis, causing Adonis to become infuriated and attempt to go at Viktor, but Viktor is clearly not deterred by it and simply looks at Ivan, followed by walking away. Viktor pummels Adonis, breaking his orbital bone, ribs, and brutally puncturing one of his kidneys, but is disqualified for landing a punch on Adonis while he was down. During the time that Adonis is recovering from his injuries and regaining his confidence that was shattered, Viktor claims his first official victory on the American stage, knocking out an unnamed opponent in the first round, followed by rising to the top of the boxing ranks over the next few months thanks to his unmatched power and brutal offense. Ivan briefly finds his way back into the good graces of the Russians as he and his son are invited to a private dinner held by some of the most powerful and influential people in Russia. The Russian's present their faith and support by offering a gift to Viktor, custom-made boxing shorts. Ivan seems delighted by all of this while Viktor doesn't seem to care for their stamp of approval. Viktor's mother and Ivan's ex-wife Ludmilla appears at the dinner, sitting next to another man, causing Viktor to storm out. He scolds Ivan for seeking validation from the very people who turned their backs on him when he needed them, telling his father that these people kicked him out.
Forgiving and Finding Peace
Viktor is now recognised as the official number one Heavyweight fighter in the world but is still lacking the championship belt, the Dragos challenge Adonis to a rematch in Russia. Ivan pushes Viktor to his limit in training for the bout. However, Adonis spent his sessions training his body to repeatedly absorb heavy impact and uses Viktor's lack of technique and reliance on power punches to his advantage. Viktor enters the tenth round with the lead on the scorecards, but begins to tire, as he had never gone past the fourth round in previous matches without knocking his opponent out. Adonis knocks Viktor down twice in the round, causing a number of Viktor's supporters, including Ludmilla, to leave the fight. At this moment, Ivan realises that his son is far more important to him, not caring what the Russian's think and finally at peace with his past, he throws in the towel, stopping the fight, and allowing Adonis to emerge victoriously.
Bonding with Viktor
Drago hugs a humiliated Viktor after the fight, assuring him that it is okay and that he is proud. Finally, at peace with his past, Ivan focuses on developing a deeper bond with his son, training with him side-by-side.
Personality and Traits
- "I fight for me! FOR ME!"
- ―Ivan Drago[src]
Unlike the opponent from the previous movie, Clubber Lang, Drago is a man of few words. In the movie, his wife always spoke for him during interviews, as Drago simply looked at the cameras, whilst occasionally looking at others. He is an individual who hates being treated like an object of somebody else's intentions. He seems to be a very pitiless and cold-hearted person, as shown when he comments on Apollo's death: "If he dies, he dies", feeling no remorse for his actions. Drago also is remembered for saying "I must break you" to Rocky Balboa immediately before the match begins. Drago seems to be fighting for his country (as the Soviet officials indicate), but as one of his promoters starts yelling at him in the fourteenth round for not fulfilling expectations, Drago angrily lifted the promoter by the neck, and threw him into the crowd, exclaiming, "I fight for me! FOR ME!"
Drago takes great pride in representing his country as seen in Rocky IV and Creed II. Drago went to extreme lengths in order to be accepted back by the Russian people, Drago held onto the pain of being kicked out of the country for 30 years. He shows that he does have a cold heart as he trains his son Viktor, relentlessly rather than bonding with him, but by the end of Creed II, Drago made the decision to put his son over his nation, letting go of the past and bonding with his son.
Drago's style was based on size, strength, and mental resilience. He was vicious and relentless, not stopping until he finished an opponent. He was extremely determined in the ring, capable of outworking any opponent. Drago was also incredibly strong, a single punch impacting with the force of over two thousand pounds per square inch, hence the expression that whatever he hits, he destroys. Ivan Drago also showed surprising agility for his size, demonstrated in his elusiveness during the Apollo Creed fight. Drago tended to become more aggressive as fights went on. Drago, however, wasn't capable of enduring consistent punishment, which contributed to his loss against Rocky Balboa.
Professional Boxing Record
Held a portion of the Heavyweight Championship (One of these WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF, or The Ring) (1 time) (defeated unknown, lost to unknown)
- "I must break you" - Ivan Drago to Rocky Balboa.
- "I cannot be defeated... I defeat all man... Soon I defeat real champion" - Ivan Drago.
- "If he dies... He dies." - Ivan Drago in reference to a dying Apollo Creed.
- "I fight to win, for me. FOR ME!" Ivan Drago to Nicolai Koloff.
- "Because of you... I lose everything. My country. Respect. You ever see stray dogs in the Ukraine? They go for days without food. People spit on them, they are nothing. No home. Only will to survive... to fight. I have son. All he knows... [raises his fists]... Is this." - Ivan Drago to Rocky Balboa.
- According to Sylvester Stallone, Dolph Lundgren and Carl Weathers really did not get along and got into an altercation during filming. Lundgren threw Weathers across the ring before it was broken up.
- When shooting the film, Sylvester Stallone decided that for the shooting of the fight, he and Dolph Lundgren should hit one another for real, so as to increase the intensity of the scene. After doing three takes of Rocky taking shots to ribs, Stallone felt a burning in his chest, but ignored it. Later that night, he had difficulty breathing and was taken to a nearby emergency room. It was discovered that his blood pressure was over 200, and he had to be flown on a low-altitude flight from Canada to St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, where he remained in intensive care for four days. What had happened was that Lungren had punched him so hard in the chest, Stallone's heart had slammed up against his breastbone and began to swell, cutting off the blood supply and restricting the oxygen flow throughout the body.
- It took Dolph Lundgren about six months to win the part and was first turned down by the casting directors for being too tall. Later, he got the chance to send photos and meet Sylvester Stallone who told him he had a good chance to get the part, but advised him to gain twenty pounds of muscle.
Ivan Drago: Justice Enforcer
After the match, Drago was locked up in the Soviet Embassy for years. Gorbachev, knowing of Drago's power, released him into the streets of the United States after briefing Drago on his mission. Drago was attacked by several people. Sporto McJockitch attacked first, some of them followed by their girlfriends, who did no damage. Ivan defeated these, only to be met by Stabby Jenkins, a short man with a dagger. He killed these and moved on.
Next, he met someone unusual—Segway Jerkwad. Segway was a cyborg (presumably), he had a wheel attached where his legs and feet were supposed to be. Segway attacked immediately, but Drago was able to defeat the cyborg. Then he met another unusual sight, a cowboy. The cowboy tried really hard with his lasso to strangle him, but Drago was able to defeat him, too. 
Next came Pauly's Robot, another machine, that did not attack. Drago destroyed the robot as well. After that, Mafioso Alfredo, a man dressed in black with a small pistol, attacked. Drago dodged all the bullets he could and killed Alfredo. . He also met Serial mom whom the criminals used to fool Drago, but to no avail, and he, in disgust, killed her and the baby was a doll filled with blood which did not fool Drago at all.
Then came Herbert the Dinosaur, a Tyrannosaurus Rex. The T-Rex used all its might to kill Drago, but in the end, Drago defeated it. He then fought several more of the criminals before entering Mighty Mick's Gym. Drago fought a cyborg of Apollo Creed and eventually Rocky Balboa, who was confined to a wheelchair.