Saturday night on HBO former unified light heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs) defeated Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-2, 16 KOs) for the vacant WBO title that Kovalev once possessed. Kovalev dropped Shabranskyy twice in the opening round, and again in round two. He bravely rose to his feet once again following the third knockdown, but by then the damage had been done. Cool as an assassin, Kovalev continued breaking Shabranskyy down until referee Harvey Dock mercifully called a halt to the contest.
This was a solid performance from Kovalev and an impressive victory. Going into the bout, Kovalev was coming off of back-to-back losses against the now retired former pound for pound king, Andre Ward. In their first bout last November, Ward was awarded a razor thin unanimous decision in a fight that most observers felt Kovalev deserved to win. All three judges scored the bout 114 to 113 in Ward’s favor. In the rematch, however, Ward left no doubts, and he stopped Kovalev in the 8th round of a career defining victory.
Kovalev regained a portion of the championship at what is potentially the beginning of exciting times in the prestigious 175 pound division. There is a great abundance of raw talent in the weight class, and there are many potentially interesting match-ups in the cards for the two time champion. We have the newly crowned IBF champion Artur Beterbiev. There is also WBA champion Dmitry Bivol. Then there is the exciting undefeated up and coming contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Former super middleweight champion Badou Jack is now competing at 175. And then of course there is WBC and lineal light weight champion Adonis Stevenson.
With such a rich pool of talent currently competing in the light heavyweight division, fans can hopefully look forward to some intriguing crowd pleasing showdowns in the not too distant future. How does Sergey Kovalev fit into this interesting light heavyweight landscape? This edition of Rummy’s Corner takes a quick look back at Kovalev’s impressive win against Shabranskyy, and where he stands among the best of the best in today’s 175 pound division. Please watch and enjoy the video!