Ivan Drago (Russian: Иван Драго, born November 3rd, 1961) was the main antagonist in Rocky IV and Creed II. He is a former Russian professional boxer, Olympian and a Infantry Captain for the Soviet Army.
Ivan was an amateur boxer and Olympic gold medalist from the Soviet Union, armed with a punch over 2,000 psi. As seen in the events from Rocky Legends, Ivan 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), Ivan would fight one of America's greatest fighters named Apollo Creed in an exhibition match, but Ivan ended up destroying him with ease and knocking him out in the second round, resulting in the death of Creed, in which Rocky Balboa (Apollo's close friend) took it upon himself to avenge Apollo and agreed to a fight against Ivan in Russia where Ivan lost the fight, making it his first and only loss ever. Ivan was shamed by the USSR and exiled from Russia, forcing him to move to Ukraine. He was divorced by Ludmilla Drago (Ivan's wife) and he was forced to raise Viktor Drago (Ivan's son) on his own. Ivan trained his son ruthlessly for the next 20 years, attempting to make him a better boxer than he was.
In 2018 (Creed II), Ivan issued a challenge to a newly crowned Heavyweight Champion named Adonis Creed (Apollo's son) on the behalf of his son, hoping to avenge his loss to Balboa all those years ago. Viktor (Ivan's son) pummeled Adonis in their first encounter but lost to Adonis via disqualification because he punched Adonis 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 as he was unable to defend himself, causing Ivan to throw the towel in for his son and Ivan hugged Viktor as Ivan tells him that he is proud of him. Ivan is now focusing on developing a deeper bond with his son, training side-by-side with him.
The Soviet Union was extremely arrogant in Ivan's abilities; however, Ivan never bragged about it. Ludmilla (Ivan's wife) 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, which is referring to Ivan's height and Apollo's death at the hands of Ivan.
After the fall of Soviet Union, he had a son named Viktor Drago who succeeded him in his boxing career.
Ivan was born on November 3rd, 1961 in Moscow, Russia, there isn’t much information surrounding his childhood, but one would assume that he was raised with discipline, due to growing up in such a rough environment. Ivan would eventually join the Soviet Army becoming an Infantry Captain, it was during this time that a boxing trainer named Sergei Rimsky and a high ranking political adviser named Nicolai Koloff were scouting the soldiers in order to find a worthy athlete. Ivan fought a fellow soldier named Alexei Baluk defeating him and catching the eye of prospects, from here Ivan was trained in Soviet Russia and went on to defeat a series of other boxers. He had an impressive amateur record of 100 wins, 0 losses, 0 draws and 100 knockouts. 
The final fight in the USSR is on the deck of a warship, where Ivan is pitted against the best boxer in the Red Navy named Yuri Denisov. After Ivan wins that fight, his Soviet trainers were convinced that he would beat any boxer in the world, prompting them to fly to America in hopes of booking a title fight against the World Champion named Rocky Balboa, convinced Ivan could defeat the American and take the title. This was announced at the press conference held as soon as Ivan got off the plane. This press conference was seen by the former Heavyweight Champion and retired professional boxer named Apollo Creed. Ivan 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.
Ivan was married to another athlete named Ludmilla Drago, who is a double gold medalist in swimming. She is more articulate than Ivan, who seldom talks and always spoke on his behalf at press conferences and interviews. She dismissed allegations of Ivan'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, Ludmilla divorced Ivan and left him to raise Viktor Drago (Ivan's son) on his own, in which 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 arrived in the United States along with Ludmilla Drago (Ivan's wife), Nicolai Koloff (Ivan's political adviser) and Sergei Igor Rimsky and Manuel Vega (Ivan's trainers). Ivan held a post-conference right off the plane to announce his entry into the American professional boxing world. At the press conference, Ivan didn't say a word, he sat in silence while Ludmilla (Ivan's wife) answered all the questions about him. Nicolai (Ivan's political adviser) issued the challenged to have an exhibition bout with the ''American Champion'' the current Heavyweight Champion named Rocky Balboa at the time. Nicolai is asked if Ivan can withstand the pressure of fighting someone like Balboa to which Nicolai responds that nobody can match Ivan's strength, endurance, or aggressiveness, making him indestructible. Former Heavyweight Champion and retired boxer named Apollo Creed watched the press conference from his home, looking visibly frustrated and annoyed with the comments. Ivan 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 Ivan has used any anabolic steroids, in which Ludmilla replies ''Never! 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, Ivan then demonstrates a punch that totals at 1850 psi. Nicolai states that whatever he hits, he destroys.
Challenged by Apollo Creed
Visibly frustrated by the Russian, 42 year old, Apollo Creed came out of a five-year retirement to challenge Ivan to an exhibition match, which would be promoted by Rocky Balboa. Ivan 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 Ivan to box ''The American way'', Apollo was asked about Ivan's inexperience to which Apollo replied ''Some people just have to learn the hard way!'' while smirking. The press then attempted to ask Ivan a question, asking him his thoughts on Apollo, Ivan 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 Ivan while he sat there in silence with the rest of his team until Ludmilla Drago 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?'' Ludmilla then states that they didn't come here to lose, Apollo then says that Ivan 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, Ivan then gets up, and a small melee ensues, with Ivan pushing Apollo as the conference comes to an end.
On the night of the fight, Ivan 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 looks confused by all the entertainment, but he kept his composure and backed into his corner as he awaits for 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 the crowd boos at Drago. The two fighters met in the middle of the ring with the referee going over the rules, Creed seemed confident and excited as he tells Drago ''It's time to go to school!'' They then touched gloves with Creed slamming into Ivan's and says ''You will lose'', which causes Creed's expression to become more worrying.
Killing Creed in the ring
It was predicted by the majority of sports analysis that Apollo would defeat Ivan because of his outweighing experience and his ability to win under pressure. In the early stages of the first round, Apollo orbited the Russian, Ivan stood in the middle of the ring and Apollo danced around him, keeping distance to avoid any strikes from Ivan, but slipping in every second or two to land a quick jab on Ivan! Apollo was doing well, landing combinations while Ivan stood back cocking his right hand and awaiting the right time to strike, Apollo continued at this pace for a bit longer until Sergei Rimsky (Ivan's trainer) yells at him to strike, causing Ivan to take a step forward, closing the distance and landing a huge straight right hand that pushed Apollo right into the ropes! Ivan then unloaded on Apollo for the remainder of the round, trapping Creed in the corner and unloading with body shots and right hooks, bloodying Creed! Ivan continued after the sound of the bell, throwing two more punches to the bloodied Apollo. Tony "Duke" Evers (Apollo's trainer) ran into the ring and yells at Ivan's team as Duke tells them that "It's supposed to be an exhibition". In the second round, Ivan stood with his hands down and slipped Apollo's punches, intimidating Apollo. Finally, Ivan countered and unloaded on Apollo, connecting with countless hooks and strikes, eventually dropping Apollo and winning the fight by KO. Rocky Balboa swooped into the ring and held Apollo in his arms while Ivan was being interviewed by the press, Ivan said, ''I defeat anybody... I defeat any man... I defeat real champion..'' and then in regards to Apollo's fatal injuries, Ivan said ''If he dies... he dies.'', in which Creed would succumb to his injuries and die.
Balboa vs. Drago
After the fight, Rocky Balboa did whatever he could to get a fight with Ivan, but the boxing commission stated that they would not sanction the fight, urging Rocky to wait two years. Eventually, Rocky was able to work out a deal with Ivan's team to have the fight take place in the USSR on Christmas Day for no money whatsoever. Rocky made it clear to everyone that he would attempt to avenge Apollo Creed's death at the hands of Ivan, which is now labelled "Death from Above". During the press conference, the Soviets belittled Rocky as they claimed that Ivan would win for certain, due to Drago's superior genetics, superior strength and superior training.
After the conference, Ivan flew back to the USSR and began his training for the fight, where he 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 Ivan's biology, monitoring even his heart rate. Ivan also spars with various men and knocks them all out 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, Rocky made his way to the ring first and to the surprise of nobody was hugely booed by the audience. Ivan 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 Apollo, Ivan 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, Ivan had the upper-hand and came out firing! Unlike his fight with Apollo Creed where he waited and timed his shots, Ivan stormed out of his corner and charged at Rocky Balboa, trapping him in his own corner and unloading with body shots and hooks! Balboa was able to land a few body shots, prompting Ivan to smile and point at his stomach, asking Rocky to bring it! Ivan counters and continues to unload, eventually knocking Balboa down with ease! It's clear that Ivan is looking to finish the fight as quickly as possible. By the end of the first round, Rocky was already cut and bleeding with Ivan hungry for more. Despite Ivan's impressive performance in the first round, his trainers place an exceptional amount of pressure on him, expecting Ivan to dominate Balboa more. In the second round, Ivan continually lands blows on Rocky and knocks him down again, much to the chagrin of Balboa's trainers and Adrian Balboa (Rocky's wife), but the turning point comes when Rocky catches Ivan with a right hook that opens up a bad cut on his cheek! Ivan seems stunned by the fact that he has been cut open and backs away, causing Rocky to charge at him, unloading with rights and lefts before trapping the Russian in the corner and unloading with body shots. Rocky hits Ivan with a few shots after the bell, causing Rocky to grab him by the throat and punch him with a straight right, Rocky then picks Ivan 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, Ivan continued to have the upper hand, dominating Rocky by using his reach advantage, Rocky was unable to cut the distance and Ivan continued to unload with heavy strikes on Rocky, but with every punch that Ivan threw, Rocky kept coming back for more and more. He wouldn't go down. Rocky withstood everything that Ivan threw at him during those rounds.
In round six, Rocky began to cut off the distance and make an impact on Ivan, 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 Rocky was making a real dint on Ivan 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 Nicolai Koloff who was seated next to him. Ivan had a dominating round, but it was called upon by Rocky because Rocky began taunting at Ivan 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 became so furious that he left his seat in the upper deck and personally got to Ivan'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 Ivan needed to win, or else. Ivan's temper then snaps, prompting him to grab and hold Nicolai by the neck, and throw him into the audience, exclaiming "I fight for me! FOR ME!", contrarily to how Soviets suggested that Ivan was fighting for his country. Ivan then commences the final round with Rocky.
Balboa continued taunting Ivan, asking him to throw real punches, which prompted the then infuriated Ivan to throw more punches, but to little avail. Much like Lang, Ivan fatigued severely, rendering him helpless as Rocky rallied several punches against Ivan, uppercutting him into a knockdown. Due to his fatigue, Ivan 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 Ivan's loss to Rocky Balboa, Ivan was disgraced by the USSR, where he was shamed and kicked out of the country, tainting the Drago name forever. Ludmilla Drago (Ivan's wife) divorced him and left him to raise Viktor Drago (Ivan's son) on his own. Following the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ivan fought pro for a short time while raising his son. During this time, he accumulated a record of 31-1 (31 KO) and won the WBA Heavyweight title. However, Ivan never unified the title or fought the very top contenders due to 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 alone in Ukraine with Viktor Drago (Ivan's son). Ivan has raised his son in hate and Ivan has continued to train his son ruthlessly for the last 20 years. Ivan 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. Ivan 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. Viktor has been fighting in Ukraine for some time, winning all of his fights by KO. Along the way, Ivan and Viktor meet a boxing promoter named Buddy Marcelle.
After Viktor knocked out another opponent in Ukraine and Adonis Creed won the World Heavyweight Championship, Ivan, Viktor and Buddy travel to Philadelphia to issue a challenge to Adonis for the title. Ivan visits Rocky Balboa in his restaurant to tell him how Rocky cost him everything from his standing in the Ivan all the way to Ludmilla Drago (Ivan's 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 Drago for the fight
Adonis Johnson Creed accepts the fight and Rocky Balboa refuses to train him, Ivan intensifies Viktor Drago's training regiment. During the weigh-in, Ivan taunts Adonis as Ivan tells Adonis he is much smaller than Apollo was. Adonis shoves Ivan, which prompts Viktor to shove Adonis and 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 he 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 offence. 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. Ludmilla Drago (Ivan's ex-wife and Viktor's mother) 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 he is still lacking the championship belt, the Dragos challenge Adonis Johnson Creed to a rematch in Russia and 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 Drago, to leave the fight. At this moment, Ivan realizes 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
After the fight, Ivan hugs a humiliated Viktor Drago and Ivan assures 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 Clubber Lang (the opponent from the previous movie), Ivan is a man of few words. In Rocky IV, Ludmilla Drago (Ivan's wife) always spoke for Ivan during interviews as he simply looked at the cameras and occasionally looking at others, indicating that Ivan is a quiet person as he doesn't talk much. 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 Creed's death: "If he dies, he dies", indicating that Ivan feels no remorse (deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed) for his actions. Ivan also is remembered for saying "I must break you" to Rocky Balboa immediately before the match begins. Ivan 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, Ivan angrily lifted the promoter by the neck and threw him into the crowd, exclaiming, "I fight for me! FOR ME!"
Ivan takes great pride in representing his country as seen in Rocky IV and Creed II. Ivan went to extreme lengths in order to be accepted back by the Russian people, Ivan 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 Viktor Drago (Ivan's son), relentlessly rather than bonding with him, but by the end of Creed II, Ivan made the decision to put his son over his nation, letting go of the past and bonding with his son.
Ivan's style was based on size, strength and mental resilience as he was vicious and relentless, not stopping until he finished an opponent. He was extremely determined in the ring, capable of outworking any opponent. Ivan 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 also showed surprising agility for his size, demonstrated in his elusiveness during the fight with Apollo Creed. Ivan tended to become more aggressive as fights went on. However, Ivan 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 the WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF, The Ring or Lineal titles) (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. Wife. 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.
- Drago is the only major antagonist in any of the six Rocky films who was never a lineal World Heavyweight Champion.
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 attempted to strangle him with his lasso, but Drago was able to defeat him, too. 
Next came Paulie'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 the bullets 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 (which was a doll filled with blood that 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.