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Main Events petitioning WBO to make Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy for title

By Allan Fox: Main Events is reportedly petitioning the World Boxing Organization to have the November 25 fight between Sergey “Krusher”Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) to be for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title fight. This is the WBO 175 lb. title that was recently vacated by Andre “SOG” Ward in his retirement from boxing.

At this time, the WBO still hasn’t made a decision whether they’ll let the Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy fight be for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title or not. It might not be fair to the other contenders in the WBO’s top 15 rankings if the sanctioning body lets Kovalev fight the unranked Shabranskyy for their WBO title instead of a top 15 contender in their rankings.

WBO president Paco Valcarcel and his committee will make the decision whether to let the Kovalev-Shabranskyy fight be for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title.

Kovalev, 34, has lost his last 2 fights to Ward, and yet he’s still ranked highly with the WBO at No.2. In contrast, the 30-year-old Shabranskyy isn’t ranked at all by the WBO. For Kovalev to fight for the WBO title against Shabranskyy, it would allow him to face an arguably far weaker opponent than the guys that are ranked highly with the sanctioning body. Here are the WBO’s top 15 rankings:

1. Oleksandr Gvozdyk

2. Sergey Kovalev

3. Sullivan Barrera

4. Marcus Browne

5. Artur Beterbiev

6. Enrico Koelling

7. Anthony Yarde

8. Karo Murat

9. Manuel Caballos

10. Mike Lee

11. Dominic Boesel

12. Robert Parzeczewski

13. Damien Hooper

14. Fanlong Meng

15. Trent Broadhurst

Kovalev’s 2 defeats to Ward were filled with controversy. The fight saw Ward beat Kovalev by a very questionable 12 round unanimous decision on November 19, 2016. Kovalev appeared to win 6 clear rounds in that fight, which should have been more than enough for him to win the fight given the 2nd round knockdown that he scored over Ward. The judges saw it differently from the boxing public in giving Ward a win by the scores 114-113, 114-113 and 114-113.

In the Ward-Kovalev rematch on June 17, Ward stopped Kovalev after hitting him what appeared to be 3 consecutive times with low blows. The referee that worked the fight Tony Weeks then stepped in and called a halt to the fight in giving Ward an 8th round TKO win. On replay, it showed what appeared to be Ward hitting Kovalev 3 straight times with low blows, leading up to the stoppage. It’s unclear why the referee Tony Weeks chose to stop the fight. Weeks opted not to even look at the replay, which would have given him an out. It looked like Weeks blew the call, and then made a second mistake by not reviewing it immediately afterwards. Kovalev probably would have lost the fight anyway, as he was tired and he’d been hurt by a right hand from Ward in the 8th. If the fight had been allowed to continue with Kovalev being given time to recover from the low blows, he still would have had a difficult time making it out of the 8th. Kovalev’s stamina had given out on him, and Ward was getting to him with his hard shots.

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