Sergey Kovalev’s rematch with Andre Ward marked the first time since 2013 that “Krusher” had entered the ring without the WBO light heavyweight belt around his waist. He’ll get a chance to rectify that on November 25th, as the sanctioning body voted to grant the title to the winner of his upcoming fight with Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KO) had a rather dramatic split with trainer John David Jackson following that June defeat and just recently revealed his new coach: unknown Uzbek Arbor Tursunpulatov.
Neither I, nor Google, have any idea who this guy is, but whatever floats his boat.
Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KO) ought to be beatable no matter who’s in Sergey’s corner. While a capable, powerful fights, Shabranskyy wilted in the face of Sullivan Barrera, who turned down a fight with Kovalev (while it was still a non-title bout) under the assumption that, as the WBA #2, he’d get to fight Dmitry Bivol for the vacant title.
He didn’t, because boxing is not a meritocracy and anyone who still thinks it is is either an idiot or selling you something.
In any event, Barrera will be fighting Felix Valera on the card alongside a super featherweight eliminator between Jason Sosa and Robinson Castellanos, the winner of which could be next for Albert Machado.