Sergey Kovalev TKOs Vyacheslav Shabranskyy – Results
By Stanley White: Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) made super easy work of #10 WBO fringe contender Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-2, 16 KOs) in knocking him out in the 2nd round on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
(Photo credit David Spagnolo/Main Events)
Kovalev knocked the 30-year-old Shabranskyy down 3 times in total in the fight before the match was stopped in round 2. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:36 of round 2.
Kovalev, 34, knocked Shabranskyy down twice in round 1 with right hands. Shabranskyy barely made it out of the round. In round 2, Kovalev dropped Shabranskyy with big right hand to the head. After Shabranskyy got back up, Kovalev calmly nailed him with a series of hard shots that staggered him and caused him to back up against the ropes. The referee Harvey Dock then stepped in and halted the fight. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:36 of round 2.
After the fight, Kovalev said he wants to fight unification fights against various champions in the light heavyweight division. One fighter Kovalev mentioned is IBF champion Artur Beterbiev. Kovalev is also interested in fighting WBC belt holder Adonis Stevenson.
”I’m back,” said Kovalev after the fight. ”I don’t think I was sopped in my last fight [with Andre Ward]. It was an illegal decision. We should find out who is the best in the light heavyweight division. That is Chickenson [Stevenson]. He’s on my list. I’m ready for unification championship with Beterbiev,” said Kovalev.
Kovalev twice lost to Beterbiev in the past when the two of them were in the amateur ranks. It would be interesting to see the two of them fight in the pro ranks. Beterbiev recently won the vacant IBF 175 lb. title in beating Enrico Koelling by a 12th round knockout.
Kovalev was given a big advantage when his tune-up fight against Shabranskyy was given the green light by the World Boxing Organization to be for the vacant WBO light heavyweight title. Shabranskyy is not someone that has the talent to be fighting for a world title. He was originally just Kovalev’s warm-up opponent, but the WBO let the fight be for their world title.
With his upright stance, Shabranskyy was a sitting duck for Kovalev’s right hands throughout the 2-round fight. Shabranskyy didn’t have the sense enough to lower his stance, raise his guard, and throw some power punches to make Kovalev think twice about bombing him with right hands. Everything that Shabranskyy did in the fight was wrong, including his decision now to maul Kovalev the way that Andre Ward had done.
You can understand why Shabranskyy wouldn’t want to wrestle Kovalev for 12 rounds, because it would look bad in the eyes of the boxing public. But there was no excuse for Shabranskyy not to have resorted to using mauling after he was knocked down twice in round 1. At that point, it was no longer about looking good in the eyes of the boxing fans. It was beyond that.
Shabranskyy just needed to try and survive and make into the deeper rounds so he can try and expose Kovalev’s lack of conditioning. Shabranskyy chose not to hold/maul, even when he was badly hurt and the situation called for him to try and hold on. Shabranskyy fought like a novice fighter against Kovalev and he lost like a novice. It’s an embarrassment for boxing to have Kovalev winning the vacant WBO light heavyweight title against a fighter as badly flawed as Shabranskyy.
The WBO should have rejected Main Events’ request to have the Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy fight for their vacant WBO 175 lb. title, because this was clearly just a tune-up fight for the Krusher when it was first signed. Shabranskyy was just a recently knocked out fringe contender who had no business fighting for a world title. Sullivan Barrera knocked Shabranskyy out last December in 7 one-sided rounds. Shabranskyy had beaten no one good since then.
”I love to make great fights,” said Kovalev afterwards. ”This makes boxing interesting. We can make good fights for boxing fans, and make boxing history. Let’s find out who is the best. Chickenson is on my list. This is very good for boxing. Let’s do it,” said Kovalev.
I wouldn’t call Kovalev’s win over Shabranskyy as a great fight. I would call it a great mismatch, which was always intended to be a mismatch. When you take a tune-up fight and then pass it off as a title fight, it’s disappointing. The WBO should have rejected the idea of this mismatch between Kovalev and Shabranskyy being for their WBO 175 lb. title. If they wanted to have someone quickly fight for their vacant WBO title, they should have told Kovalev’s promoters at Main Events to get Oleksandr Gvozdyk to fight him for the WBO belt or Marcus Browne or Anthony Yarde.
Even Joe Smith Jr. would have been a much preferable opponent for Kovalev to fight than Shabranskyy. I think the WBO dropped the ball in letting this fight be for their vacant WBO title rather than insisting that a better opponent be found for Kovalev to fight. I think it sends the wrong message when sanctioning bodies let top contenders fight recently knocked out bottom feeders in the division world for their vacant titles. It creates bad television. HBO Championship Boxing televised the Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy fight, and you have to wonder what the higher ups in the executive chin for the company was thinking when they saw this mismatch.
Hopefully for the sake of the boxing public, Kovalev doesn’t milk his WBO title, and fights the other light heavyweight champions in the division. If the WBO is going to do the right thing and have Kovalev fight Gvozdyk, it would be a great fight. I don’t know that the WBO intends on doing that though. If they let Kovalev fight voluntary defenses for his new WBO title, then we could see mismatches like in the past when Kovalev was fighting an over-the-hill Jean Pascal in repeatedly. One fight was enough between Kovalev and Pascal, but they had to fight twice. It was such a waste.
“I did it and worked very hard to get to champion status,” said Kovalev. ”My brain, mentally, my conditioning, and my body – I’m back. It’s my goal to be the best in this division. I am here, I love boxing.”
You have to wonder whether Kovalev would be saying the same thing about loving boxing if he had to fight Gvozdyk for the vacant WBO title rather than the made to order Shabranskyy.