Sergey Kovalev looks to regain the first world title he won as a professional boxer when he faces  Vyacheslav Shabranskyy on November 25th, 2017 at the Theater in Madison Square Garden, New York., USA.

Started It All

The WBO lightweight title is one that has sentimental value to the man known as the Russian Krusher because it was the first of three light heavyweight belts he won during his long reign as unified light heavyweight champion. Kovalev won that belt in 2013 when knocked out Nathan Cleverly in Wales. Krusher defended the belt eight times before losing it to Andre Ward in the first of their two fights.

Kovalev’s first loss to Ward was close and as some would say controversial. But Ward knocked out Kovalev in a rematch to settle their score. The losses to Ward were the first in the 34-year old Kovalev’s career and he looks to bounce back not only with a win over Shabranskyy but by reclaiming the belt that started it all.

Big Opportunity

Ukrainian Vyacheslav Shabranskyy is staring at a big opportunity against Kovalev. Not only is the 30-year old about to get a shot at a big name like Kovalev, he also has the opportunity to win his first ever world title after this originally 10 rounder was promoted to the WBO title fight after Ward’s retirement.

Shabranskyy has lost just one time in 20 bouts and that defeat was a knockout loss against Sullivan Barrera last December. Since that defeat he’s racked up two successive victories and will be fighting for the third time this year. Like Kovalev, he is known for his punching power with 16 KOs in 19 wins.

Prediction

This is going to be a slugfest but of two fighters with different styles. Shabranskyy is an aggressive slugger who throws volume punches to the body. Kovalev meanwhile picks his spots first before getting into a slug of war. Shabranskyy is the taller fighter here and because of that, there is a room for upset.

However, Kovalev is the more polished boxer and has the better all around skills. Although he’s coming off back to back losses, those were to the best fighter in the planet. With Ward now retired Kovalev is the man to beat at light heavyweight. Shabranskyy will try to rush in and overwhelm Kovalev but the Krusher has excellent IQ to counter that. He’s going to take his time and try to outbox his opponent. But if Shabranskyy gets too sloppy, Kovalev’s going to end his night early.

We’re picking Kovalev to win by unanimous decision or stoppage in the championship rounds.

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