kovalev shabranskyy boxing wbo On Saturday Night former light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev squared off against Vyacheslav “Lionheart” Shabranskyy of Ukraine at Madison Square Garden, in New York for the vacant WBO title that the Russian once possessed.

Things opened up somewhat tactically, with both men looking to establish the jab. Less than two minutes into the opening round Kovalev landed a clubbing right hand that sent Shabranskyy to the canvas.

Although he rose up quickly and he appeared to be ok as they resumed boxing, just about a minute later Kovalev hurt Shabranskyy again with a quick combo punctuated by another big right.

He followed it up with three solid shots that dropped the Ukrainian for the second time in the opening round. Shabranskyy again was fairly quick standing up, but this time he looked dazed and hurt, but the round was almost over and he survived.

Kovalev landed some big shots to start the second while at the same time he worked on the Ukrainian’s body. About two minutes in to the round another combination floored Shabranskyy for the third time in the fight. He once again made it to his feet, but Kovalev resumed to methodically breaking him down before the fight was mercifully stopped by the referee.

It was a second-round technical knockout that allowed Kovalev to become the new WBO light heavyweight champion of the world.

Although Shabranskyy proved to be too easy a target for Kovalev, it was an impressive victory for the Russian, especially coming off back-to-back losses to Andre Ward.

Kovalev still exhibited an excellent jab as he landed some menacing and solid body shots and proved that he still has tremendous power and the means to deliver devastating knockouts.

Kovalev executed in this fight effectively and demonstrated that he can be a tough challenge for anyone in the division.

Now that Ward is retired and can be excluded from the rich pool of fighters in the light heavyweight division, Kovalev has once again become the man to beat.


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