Sullivan Barrera Pulls Upset Over Vyacheslav Shabranskyy

Cuban stand out Sullivan Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs) pulled an upset over Vyacheslav “Lionheart Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (17-1, 14 KOs) in a slugfest for the WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight title at Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, Calif. before a nearly sold-out crowd and televised on HBO Latino. The fight lasted until the seventh round, where Shabranskyy’s team waved the white towel at the 2:05 mark.

“Of course we would never expect this,” said Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. “We will decide next steps after we get over this.”

“With this win, I proved all the people who bad mouthed me wrong,” said Sullivan Barrera. “This win is for all the boxing fans outs there. I want to specifically thank my trainer, Derik Santos. He sat me down, we watched the tapes, and he said to me, ‘Sullivan, this is what you have to do to get the win.’ This proves that my career in boxing is alive. I want a rematch with Andre Ward.”

In the evening’s co-main event also televised on HBO Latino, Rashidi “Speedy” Ellis (17-0, 12 KOs) maintained his undefeated status and was crowned the new IBF North American Welterweight Champion after stopping Eddie “E-Boy” Gomez (19-2, 11 KOs) in the first round at 1:19.

“I am at a loss of words,” said Eddie Gomez. “I just don’t know how this happened.”

“It’s been a long time since I was able to get a knock out in the first round,” said Rashidi Ellis. “I told my team I was going to win, and I entered the ring with confidence. When I landed that first jab, I felt an urgency. I could see it in his eyes that he knew I was going to win. Now with this belt, I feel like I can take anyone.”

Opening up the HBO Latino telecast, Ronny Rios (27-1, 12 KOs) faced East LA’s Roy Tapia (12-2-2, 6 KOs) in a 10 round featherweight bout. Tapia entered the ring hungry; however, the relaxed Rios was able to obtain the stoppage, with the referee calling the fight before the start of the seventh round.

“It was a body shot in the first round that really affected me,” said Roy Tapia. “After the fight, Ronny came up to me and told me to keep my head up and to keep fighting. I’m going to listen to him.”

“I was just in there having fun,” said Ronny Rios. “I’m more aware of my surroundings. I could hear my coach, and I could relax my arms so much more. I was in the same position Roy is in now at one point in my career, and all I can say is that you learn so much more with a loss than you ever could with a win.”

Representing his hometown of Indio, Javier Padilla (2-0, 2 KO) stopped Tijuana, Mexico’s Jose Mora (0-2) in the second round of his scheduled four-round super bantamweight fight. Padilla sent Mora to the mat in the first round with a powerful left hook at the end of the first round, finishing him off at 44 seconds into the second round with a straight right hand.

“I wanted to take my time in the ring,” said Javier Padilla. “I didn’t think he would get back up in the first round when he first hit the mat, but into the first couple of seconds of the second round, I was ready to finish what I came to do in my territory.”

One of Golden Boy’s hottest prospects, Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (3-0, 3 KOs) faced Nestor Garcia (0-2) in a scheduled four-round super lightweight bout that only made it to the first three minutes of the first round.

“I’m so happy with this knock out, because I feel that it was well deserved,” Vergil Ortiz said after the fight. “He was quick to try to block my punches, so I knew I had to stop him early. As soon as I saw the open opportunity, I launched my straight right hand punch, and that did the trick.”

Younger brother to the HBO Latino television opener Ronny Rios, the equally talented Alexis Rocha (6-0, 4 KOs) faced the tough Abraham Calderon (1-4) in a four round super welterweight battle that went the distance. Rocha was able to gain the unanimous decision with all the judges scoring the bout 40-34.

“He was a tough fighter, and even though his record wasn’t spotless, he was never stopped before,” said Alexis Rocha. “I was expecting a rough road, and I am happy with the two times I made him hit the floor. I’m a tough welterweight, and I’m only 19 so I have a lot to learn.”

Chattanooga, Tennessee’s Ryan Martin (18-0, 11 KOs) defeated Sacramento’s Yardley Suarez (19-6, 10 KOs) in round four of the scheduled eight-round lightweight bout. Suarez was able to keep up with Martin up until midway of the fourth round, when he hit the mat after Martin’s flurry of punches. Suarez was able to get back up, only to be overtaken again by Martin’s punches causing the referee to stop the fight, awarding the TKO to Martin.

“The moment I saw him go down, I knew that it was my time to go hard on him,” said Ryan Martin of his win. “It’s always an exciting moment to remain undefeated, and I’m looking forward to more things to come.”

Also in attendance at tonight’s fight was WBC Super Featherweight Champion Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (23-0-2, 17 KOs) as the VIP guest for the stacked card. His appearance came just six weeks before he defends his title against Miguel “El Alacran” Berchelt (30-1, 27 KOs) in a 12-round surefire high-action fight on January 28, from the same venue live on HBO Boxing After Dark.

Shabranskyy vs. Barrera On Friday Night

On Friday night, 34-year old Cuban defector Sullivan Barrera (17-1, 12 KOs) will look for redemption against undefeated light heavyweight prospect Vyacheslav “Lion Heart” Shabranskyy (17-0, 14 KOs) for the WBC United States (USNBC) Light Heavyweight Title at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California and live on HBO Latino.

Barrera is coming off a hard-fought 12-round unanimous decision loss against current WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward earlier this year in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, California.

The loss to Ward was the first of Barrera’s professional career and in the aftermath Sullivan decided to make some important changes. First, he severed ties with his long-time trainer, Abel Sanchez. Sanchez trains out of Big Bear, California and Sullivan had a desire to train closer to his home in Miami, Florida.

This desire to train in his adopted home state of Florida aided Barrera in joining forces with his new trainer, Derik Santos. Derik is the long-time protégé of world-renowned trainer John David Jackson. According to Sullivan, “I had known about Derik for a long time, since I came to this country. My team and I thought this was the best decision to work closer to home. Camp is going great, we had a long camp. It worked out perfect because I got time to really learn a lot of things from Derik.”

Traditionally, Barrera had a reputation in camp for being quiet and passive during his training sessions. However, his new partnership with Santos has brought Barrera out of his shell. Santos said, “One thing that was funny, I was told he didn’t speak much. That had been the experience where he had been before. I quickly learned that wasn’t to be the case with us. I don’t know why he opened up more with me. Maybe it’s just we clicked, but we spoke a lot. He opened up to me about his life, his boxing and his experiences along the way. I remember telling Luis [Molina, Sullivan’s manager], ‘I thought you said he doesn’t say much.’ Luis said that he was surprised I had gained his trust and his confidence to have such a rapport with him.”

The rapport between Barrera and Santos quickly developed a new strategy and game plan for his upcoming battle with the hard-hitting Shabranskyy. According to Santos, “I really have seen a change from what he was when he got here. It’s not that he wasn’t a good fighter, but technique-wise. He credits the detail, talks and time I spent with him. He says, ‘Coach it wasn’t that I couldn’t do these skill things, it’s that no one really asked me to do it. Everyone just said go forward and use my brute strength.'”

Even though the plan is for Sullivan to rely on his technical skills more than his power, Barrera still would prefer to end the night early. He said, “I must take advantage of my opportunity and do what I do best. It would be great to get a knockout because I know I am going into his home turf and his promoter’s home turf, going to be very tough to get a decision. My goal is to knock him out.”

Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said, “Sullivan put up a great fight in March against Ward. This is his chance to go for the win against another undefeated boxer and I think Sullivan is going to give Slava Shabranskyy more than he can handle.”

Shabranskyy vs. Barrera is a 10-round bout for the WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight championship, presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Main Events and sponsored by “Tecate, BORN BOLD,” and Casa Mexico Tequila. Doors open at 4:00 p.m. PT, and the first fight begins at 4:00 p.m. PT. The HBO Latino telecast begins at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT (live ET/tape delayed PT).

Tickets are still on sale and are priced at $25, $35 and $45 and available for purchase now at the Fantasy Springs Box Office, by calling (800) 827-2946 or online at

Vyacheslav Shabranskyy talks Sullivan Barrera fight

Looking to continue his rise in the light heavyweight division, one of Golden Boy Promotions’ most talented contenders Vyacheslav “Lionheart-Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (17-0, 14 KOs) will defend his USNBC Light Heavyweight Championship against Cuba’s former interim WBO Latino and WBA Fedelatin light Heavyweight ChampionSullivan Barrera (17-1, 12 KOs) on December 16 at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino. The result of the bout — taking place on the eve of the highly anticipated “Final 1” battle between future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins and Joe Smith Jr. — will have a major impact on the entire light heavyweight division.

The clash will be the opportunity of a lifetime for the “Chingonskyy” who will not only be defending his title, but his spotless professional boxing record. Golden Boy Promotions caught up with Shabranskyy ahead of his pivotal fight, in an exclusive Q&A session. Below is what Shabranskyy had to say:

How did you receive the nickname “Chingonskyy”?
Oscar De La Hoya first called me “Chingonskyy”. I was just about to sign my contract with Golden Boy, and he asked me ‘How do you say your name?’ When I replied, ‘Shabranskyy’, Oscar looked at me and said, ‘You are no longer Shanbranskyy, you are Chingonskyy.”

How has the transition been from living in the Ukraine to moving to Los Angeles?
It’s been different. In the Ukraine, I was living in a more amateur life style. Since coming here, meeting Manny Robles, and becoming a professional, it’s completely different. It’s completely changed me. When I first came here, my mentality was to just come and fight and get inside the ring. Manny had to tell me to take it easy, to refocus, and take it one fight at a time. Los Angeles isn’t a pit stop, it’s become my second home.

What has been your favorite childhood memory of the Holiday season? Are these traditions you share with your family today?
Our holiday season is different in the Ukraine from here in the US. We usually have massive celebrations in January. It’s very much like how Latinos do it – the entire family visits the elders, like the grandma’s house, and we sit, we eat, drink, and just sing, and the older members in the family will give gifts to the youngest children. I will definitely teach my children to celebrate Christmas and the holidays the way that Americans do as well – I love how we give each other presents and spend time together. I also love Thanksgiving. When I first came in 2010, I was alone and Manny introduced me to his entire family during this specific holiday, and each time I have celebrated it since then, my family has just grown.

What are some of your favorite things about being a Golden Boy Boxer?
Golden Boy gives me a good push to perfect myself in the sport, especially professionally. It reminds me of who I am-as Chingonskyy.

What are some fight tactics you have been working on in the gym recently?
I always focus on everything, and I don’t like to leave anything out. Every time I come to the gym, Manny teaches me something new. I never stop learning.

Barrera is a Cuban fighter, who is very tactful and logical inside the ring. How do you think your styles will match up when you meet him inside the ring?
I’ve never fought anyone with his type of style. Although I’ve seen many of his videos fighting, you never know who you are going to get in the ring. We know that he has switched up his training camp, he’s moved to Miami, which means we could see him fight a little different. We will tell what kind of Barrera shows up in the ring that day. It doesn’t worry me that much though. All I know is that I am training hard, and will be prepared for it. I’ll be able to tell you after the first round how it’s going.

How does it feel to return to HBO Latino as the main event?
It feels great. It’s a huge accomplishment for my career. It shows me that I am close to the level that I want to be at, and that I am closer to the fights I want. It is a step in the direction of where I desire my career to go.

How was it sparring with Bernard for his fight against Sergey Kovalev?
I learned so much sparring with Bernard. He is a very smart fighter inside the ring. After every sparring session, we would sit down, and he would explain to me everything that he knew. I was so excited to be in training camp with him. Bernard’s fight against Sergey Kovalev was not an easy fight, and Bernard gave him a tough twelve rounds. Bernard was able to adapt and strategized every round to last the 12 rounds.

What fuels your love and dedication for boxing?
I’ve been boxing since I was 13 years old. I was fighting a lot in school, and my mother got tired of it. She would pick me up from school and take me to a kick boxing class, and would tell me to take the energy from fighting people in the streets and use that energy to fight people in the gym. I’ve been boxing for a little more than half of my life. My family has always been very supportive of everything that I do, and that fuels me.

Who are some of your heroes in boxing?
When I was younger, and trained as an amateur in the Ukraine, I admired Mike Tyson. I would watch his videos, and I would get so excited to watch him, especially when he was about to fight. Now that Tyson has retired, I would say I look up so much to Vasyl Lomachenko. I think he is one of the best fighters who is out there now who we should all watch out for.

Vyacheslav Shabranskyy vs. Sullivan Barrera is a 10-round bout for the WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight championship, presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Main Events and sponsored by “Tecate, BORN BOLD,” and Casa Mexico Tequila Doors open at 4:00 p.m. PT and the first fight begins at 4:00 p.m. PT. The HBO Latino® Boxing telecast begins at 11:30 p.m. (live ET/tape-delayed PT).

Tickets are on sale and are priced at $25, $35 and $45 and available for purchase now at the Fantasy Springs Box Office, by calling (800) 827-2946 or online