FORMER WBA, IBF and WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) returns to the ring Saturday, November 25 at The Theater Madison Square Garden to take on hard-hitting contender Vyacheslav “Lion-Heart Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) in a 10-rounder. It will mark Kovalev’s return following two losses to brilliant division leader, Andre Ward.
“The Krusher”, 34, from Chelyabinsk, Russia, moved up the pound-for-pound rankings as he quickly tore through the 175lb division, stopping 26 of his 33 opponents. He took the WBO title from Nathan Cleverly in 2013 and, after three straight title defenses, all knockouts, Kovalev dominated future Hall-of-Famer Bernard Hopkins in a unanimous decision shutout to add the WBA and IBF belts to his collection. He continued his run as the unified light-heavyweight champion for two more years before meeting undefeated champion and Olympic gold medalist Andre “SOG” Ward in Las Vegas, dropping a contentious decision last year before being halted in eight rounds in June.
Now, Sergey Kovalev is ready to write the next chapter of his career. Before returning to the United States from a summer in Russia, he spent time at a monastery in Greece to clear his head and prepare mentally and spiritually for his climb back to the top of his division.
Kovalev said, “I learned a lot from my fights with Andre Ward. When you don’t win and when you suffer adversity, it makes you stronger. It also shows you who your real friends are. I feel like I cleaned out my life and now I’m ready to start fresh. I’m very excited to get back 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.”
Shabranskyy [above], 30 of Zhytomyr, Ukraine, made his professional debut in 2012 with 17 straight victories and 14 knockouts. His only career blemish is a hard-fought TKO loss to Sullivan Barrera, the Cuban who is currently ranked #3 by the WBC and #2 by the WBA at light-heavyweight. Since his loss to Barrera, Shabranskyy has two straight wins both coming by way of knockout.
“I’ve been waiting for this fight a long time. I will take this chance to show everyone my abilities and qualities in the ring,” said Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. “My coach, Manny Robles and I have been working on movement and defense, which together with my natural power will be more than enough to defeat a great fighter such as Kovalev. I’m proud to represent USA and Ukraine at this fight.”
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said, “The Theater at Madison Square Garden is really a perfect place for Sergey to start the next chapter of his career. He needs to go out and remind people why they love the Krusher. Sergey is an exciting fighter who is a pleasure to watch in the ring and that’s what everyone is going to see on November 25th.”
“Vyacheslav Shabranskyy is back, and ready to prove he will do everything to climb to the top, including facing a top-level fighter such a Kovalev.” said Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions Oscar De La Hoya. “Shabranskyy is stronger and smarter inside the ring, and will show off his mastered talent when he faces Sergey. We are excited to partner with Kathy Duva and the Main Events team yet again for an amazing show that will no doubt bring the action.”
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