Sergey Kovalev Begins Return to Boxing Prominence in Fight Versus Vyacheslav Shabranskyy

Kov. Vs. Shab.
Sergey Kovalev and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy faceoff at Thursday press conference in Manhattan.

Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) is determined to return to eminence after suffering a controversial technical knockout (TKO) loss to Andre Ward in their rematch three months ago in Las Vegas.

Kovalev’s road to redemption will start with Ukraine’s Vyacheslav “Lion Heart” Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) on November 25 in a 10-round light heavyweight match-up at The Theater at Madison Square Garden in Manhattan.

The defeat to Ward gnawed at the Russian former Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion’s insides so much, that he had some doubts whether if he wanted to continue boxing or just flat out retire.

It was an arduous setback for Kovalev, as several people in the boxing world and fans alike felt Ward struck Kovalev below the belt, causing a stir felt throughout the sport. 

But then came Kovalev’s break, sandwiched in between a summer in Russia and his voyage back to America. Kovalev spent some precious time at a monastery in Greece. It gave him the time to reflect and clear his mind.  

Now, the 34-year-old prizefighter is mentally prepared to jump back into the squared circle and return to business at hand, putting his fights with Ward behind him while looking toward the future.

“I learned a lot from my fights with Andre Ward,” Kovalev said in a statement. “When you don’t win and when you suffer adversity, it makes you stronger. It also shows you who your friends are. I feel like cleaned out my life and now I’m ready to start fresh. I’m very excited to get in the ring, and fight at Madison Square Garden for the first time, and I’m focused on the future. I’m not looking back.”

However, Kovalev’s fight with Shabranskyy won’t be a cake walk, as the 30-year-old pugilist is a tough, hard-hitting puncher and current WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight Champion. Even a former legendary boxing champion agrees that Shabranskyy will be a formidable foe and can pull the upset over fight favorite Kovalev.

“Vyacheslav Shabransky is back and ready to prove he will do everything to climb to the top, including facing a top-level fighter such a Kovalev,” Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya said in a press release. “Shabransky is stronger and smarter inside the ring, and will show off his mastered talent when he faces Sergey.”

But Shabranskyy will be hard-pressed to stop a man on mission, such as the one the resolute Kovalev is on right now.

Main Events and Krusher Promotions, in conjunction with Golden Boy Promotions, are promoting the bout, which will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark at 10:00 p.m./ET.  

— Jerry Del Priore


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