Sullivan Barrera being overlooked is scandalous
By Gav Duthie: The World Boxing Organization are convening a committee to decide if they will accept a request from Kathy Duva to make the upcoming fight between Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev 30-2-1 (26) v Vyacheslav Shabranskyy 19-1 (16) eligible for the vacant WBO title.
As of yet they haven’t agreed to this but if they do it will be a disgusting insult to Cuban contender Sullivan Barrera by the governing bodies. 3 out of the 4 belts became vacant last month with Andre Ward’s immediate retirement. Despite Barrera being ranked #2 by the WBA and #3 by the WBO it looks like he won’t be considered for any of the vacant titles.
I will reiterate again that the WBO have yet to sanction the Kovalev-Shabranskyy fight for the title but they should not agree to it. Shabranskyy is a good fighter and a fine opponent for Sergey’s comeback fight but when it was made it was never meant to be for a title. Shabranskyy has only lost once but funnily enough that was to Sullivan Barrera by 7th round knockout. The Ukrainian fighter is not ranked in the top 15 of the WBO whilst Barrera is number 3. Sullivan has also hit out at the WBA recently for allowing #1 Dimitry Bivol to fight Trent Broadhurst #12 for their strap. Barrera is #2 with the WBA and was disgusted that he was shunned. He said he would have happily fought Bivol where others like Badou Jack avoided it. It’s not that guys like Shabranskyy and Broadhurst aren’t good fighters but they should not be getting title shots ahead of Sullivan Barrera and even Oleksandr Gvozdyk for that matter.
The need for speed
The light heavyweight division is one of the flagship categories in boxing and it’s understandable that they don’t want 3 out of 4 titles to be vacant for too long. The IBF I can accept. A bout between #2 Artur Beterbiev and #3 Enrico Koelling had already been sanctioned for a mandatory position to face Ward so it’s understandable that with these two being the highest ranked available that this was elevated to a full title fight. This is a relatively easy fight for Beterbiev much the same as Bivol and Kovalev’s would be for titles but we have rankings for a reason and Koelling is 3rd so it makes sense he gets his shot. The fact that Barrera isn’t getting one after beating the likes of Shabranskyy and hot prospect Joe Smith Jnr leaves a sour taste in the mouth.