Former Unified Light Heavyweight World 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 ten-round light heavyweight showdown. Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy will be televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
The Krusher, 34, from Chelyabinsk, Russia, rose to the top of the pound-for-pound rankings as he quickly tore through the light heavyweight division, stopping 26 of his 33 opponents. He won the WBO Light Heavyweight Title from Nathan Cleverly in 2013 when he stopped the then-unbeaten champion in Cleverly’s backyard. After three straight title defenses, all knockouts, Kovalev dominated future Hall-of-Famer Bernard “The Alien” 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 and on HBO Pay-Per-View. Kovalev dropped two controversial and hard-fought losses to the current pound-for-pound king.
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, 30 of Zhytomyr, Ukraine, has quickly made a name for himself in the light heavyweight division. Vyacheslav 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 sensation 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 including his most recent win over Todd Unthank May where he secured the WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight Title. This is Shabranskyy’s opportunity to shoot to the top of his division if he can pull off an upset of the former unified champion.
“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.”
The Saturday, November 25 bout between Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy is a 10-round light heavyweight match-up at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.