Tonight at 10 pm ET on HBO, the vacant WBO light heavyweight title is on the line when former titleholder Sergey Kovalev faces Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in the main event of a tripleheader from New York City.
Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KO) is coming off of back-to-back losses to Andre Ward, but can get right back in the 175-pound mix with a victory tonight. Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KO) is looking to capitalize on a big opportunity against a big name, and make his own mark in the weight class.
The light heavyweights will also be featured when Sullivan Barrera (20-1, 14 KO) faces Felix Valera (15-1, 13 KO) in a 10-rounder that could be a real banger, for however long it lasts.
Opening the show will be a super featherweight bout between former titleholder Yuriorkis Gamboa (27-2, 17 KO), who is looking to get his career back on track at 35, and another former beltholder, Jason Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KO), who is coming off of a loss to Vasyl Lomachenko.
Wil Esco will be on the round by round call. Join us!
- SERGEY KOVALEV def. VYACHESLAV SHABRANSKYY by TKO (2:36 of Round 2)
- SULLIVAN BARRERA def. FELIX VALERA by UD (98-88, 97-90, 97-89)
- YURIORKIS GAMBOA def. JASON SOSA by MD (94-94, 95-93, 96-92)
ROUND BY ROUND
SERGEY KOVALEV vs. VYACHESLAV SHABRANSKYY
Round 1: Kovalev lands a jab on Shabranskyy. Shabranskyy tries to come back and land one of his own. Kovalev pops Shabranskyy with another jab and Shabranskyy looks like he may be bleeding already (or he's just really red). Kovalev lands a right hand but Shabranskyy gets a punch in return. Short right hand from Kovalev drops Shabranskyy! Shabranskyy beats the count and Kovalev looks to press the advantage. Shabranskyy walks right into two hard shots from Kovalev which drops Shabranskyy again! Shabranskyy gets up to his feet but he's unsteady. I'm a little surprised this fight wasn't called off. Kovalev 10-7.
Round 2: Doctors have a look at Shabranskyy before they allow the second round to start. I guess we're good to go. Kovalev lands a jab to Shabranskyy's body before landing another solid right hand upstairs. Shabranskyy doesn't move his head and it has been costing him. Two jabs land from Kovalev, then another one. Now another jab lands for Kovalev to the body. Solid one-two lands square on Shabranskyy's face. Chopping right hand drops Shabranskyy again! Shabranskyy beats the count and the referee says Shabranskyy's is okay to continue. Hard right hand to the body lands for Kovalev and then another right hand to the head stuns Shabranskyy! Shabranskyy is wobbling on his feet and the referee finally steps in to stop the fight. Kovalev TKO-2.
SULLIVAN BARRERA vs. FELIX VALERA
Round 1: Both fighters come out prodding at center ring. Barrera catches a left hook on his guard. Barrera lands a right hand to the body. Valera slips and hits the canvas but and it's ruled as such. Valera switches his stance and gives Barrera another look momentarily. Nothing happens on either side and Valera goes back to his orthodox stance. Both fighters trade left hooks and Valera's lands, crushing Barrera to the floor! Barrera gets back up and tries to get a big punch back on Valera. Now Valera gets dropped by a punch at the bell! I think Valera edges the round. Valera 10-9.
Round 2: Barrera lands a couple of hard shots as the two trade blows at center ring. Valera gets warned for throwing a low blow on Barrera. Now Valera winds up his right hand like a cartoon and throws a left jab instead. Now Barrera comes forward and tries to maul Valera. Barrera is bleeding from his left eye. Barrera 10-9, 19-19.
Round 3: Barrera is clearly the more polished boxer of the two. Barrera catches a punch below the belt and Valera gets a point taken away. After a short break Barrera says he's okay and we're back underway. Valera turns southpaw and throws a dozen feints which stalls the action for about 30 seconds. Now Barrera goes on the attack and strafes Valera to the body. Hard right hook lands to the head of Valera. Barrera 10-8.
Round 4: Valera laying back more and more in this fight which is giving Barrera some forward momentum. Barrera stalks Valera around the ring and occasionally sneaks in a good right hand. Barrera's eye is bleeding more now but it doesn't look like he took a punch to it. Valera tries a few punches and catches Barrera off guard. Hard jab to the body lands for Barrera. Barrera 10-9, 39-36.
Round 5: Jab to the chest lands for Barrera. Valera tries to counter Barrera but misses on his punches. Low blow lands on Valera who doesn't like it. Valera slaps a looping left from the southpaw stance that Barrera partially blocks. Valera dances on the outside and tries to pot shot Barrera and has some decent success. I'm gonna give Valera this round. Valera 10-9.
Round 6: Barrera comes out and lands a right hand to the body. Barrera complains about another low blow and the referee takes a point away from Valera. Both fighters want to go to war now at center ring now and trade punches! Barrera sneaks in some solid body shots on Valera. Barrera lands a couple left hooks as Valera tries to cover up. Barrera goes on an assault until the bell rings. Barrera 10-8, 58-54.
Round 7: Barrera comes out and sees that Valera is wilting at this point in the fight. Valera buries his head in Barrera's chest but Barrera comes up with an uppercut. Valera's balance doesn't seem to be that good now. Barrera lands a right hand to the body and Valera tries to back away and then ties up. Hard right hand lands for Barrera. Valera is taking more and more shots as this fight progresses. Barrera 10-9.
Round 8: Barrera lands a left hook to open the round. Valera showcasing his head movement now that he's too tired to mount an attack. Barrera lands a good left hook to the body as Valera looks to weave. Another low blow lands on Barrera and the referee takes yet another point away from Valera. Barrera lands a right hand to the body and Valera hasn't done himself any favors. I bet Kovalev would LOVE this referee. Barrera 10-8.
Round 9: Barrera comes out and lands a couple punches and a body shot that Valera claims was a low blow. Now the referee takes a point away from Barrera! Valera does some jittery leg shuffle as he tries to bait Barrera into throwing but to no avail. Valera continues to showboat but he's not putting together much offense to justify it. Barrera strafes Valera again and takes the round, but with a point deduction. Barrera 9-9.
Round 10: Both fighters meet at center ring and Valera lands a right hand. Now Barrera sneaks in an uppercut as Valera covers up. Valera leaps into the air before mounting an attack where he throws a bunch of punches meant to stagger Barrera. Doesn't work. Barrera lands a right hand to the chest of Valera as he uses awkward upward body movement. Good straight right hand lands for Barrera. Barrera 10-9. BLH scores the fight for Barrera, 97-89.
JASON SOSA vs. YURIORKIS GAMBOA
Round 1: Sosa comes out and tries to establish his jab on Gamboa. Gamboa throws a leaf left hook that Sosa blocks. Gamboa doesn't seem to have the same pep in his step that I'm accustomed to seeing from him. Sosa lands a left hook to the body as Gamboa pulls back in a straight line. Gamboa throws a three punch combination that Sosa blocks. Now Gamboa lands a left hook downstairs on the trailing end of a combination. I think Sosa generally controlled this round. Sosa 10-9.
Round 2: Gamboa comes out quickly and throws a couple quick combinations. Sosa leads with an uppercut to the body and is warned by the referee for low blows. Gamboa leads with a left hook again and sneaks in a right hand to follow. Gamboa lands three body shows in succession as Sosa fails to cover up. Sosa tags Gamboa at the end of the round but it's not enough for me. Gamboa 10-9, 19-19.
Round 3: Gamboa comes out on the attack but hits the deck after a slip. Sosa tries to jump on Gamboa when the referee starts the action back up. Gamboa gets warned for throwing punches behind the head. Lots of sloppy action to end the round with Gamboa slipping after missing on another punch. Hard round to score because there wasn't a lot of clean action. I'll give the edge to Sosa. Sosa 10-9.
Round 4: Sosa comes out pressing the action early. Gamboa slips and tries to land some counter left hooks. The referee warns Gamboa for holding too much. Gamboa reacts by throwing a flurry of punches before again tying Sosa up. Gamboa is creating a situation now where he can get off more than Sosa because when he's not punching he's tying up. Gamboa 10-9, 38-38.
Round 5: Sosa comes out with a big left hook but it doesn't find the mark. Gamboa lands some clean, flashy counter punches on Sosa! The referee again warns Gamboa for holding when he's done punching. Sosa tries a hard one-two but just misses on the right hand. Gamboa slips a punch, holds, and gets spoken to by the ref about the use of his head on the inside. Nice counter jab lands for Gamboa. Well, it's not all pretty, but it's pretty effective from Gamboa. Gamboa 10-9.
Round 6: Gamboa lands a jab down the middle and then slips off to the side. Now Gamboa throws puts four punches together and clinches Sosa's arm when he's done. The referee tells Gamboa to stop holding again. Gamboa is really just throwing more combination punches than Sosa in this fight and I think that's making the difference. More sloppy action to end the round. Gamboa 10-9, 58-56.
Round 7: Sosa looks to pick it up and catches Gamboa with a shot that makes Gamboa's glove hit the canvas. It's correctly ruled a knockdown. After the count Gamboa tries to smother Sosa before he can take advantage. Referee warns Gamboa strongly about holding, saying he's going to take a point from him. Hard right hand lands for Sosa. Gamboa might be fading. Sosa 10-8.
Round 8: Sosa comes out quick again and tries to work Gamboa's body. Gamboa lands a lead left hook and then another one as a counter. Hard straight right hand lands for Sosa! Sosa is walking forward and backs Gamboa to the ropes. Slow end to the round but I think Sosa takes it. Sosa 10-9, 76-75.
Round 9: Gamboa comes out and tries to double a left hook — both miss. Sosa strikes Gamboa again with a right and and Gamboa holds on. Sosa throw two hard shots to the body and Gamboa holds Sosa's head. Gamboa holds again and gets another warning from the referee. Sosa trying to work on the inside as Gamboa tries to halt the action but I think Sosa is outworking Gamboa in this round. Sosa 10-9.
Round 10: Gamboa seems to have run out of gas and Sosa has noticed that and upped his aggression. Gamboa now stands and delivers a slew of punches at center ring. Referee takes a point away from Gamboa for holding. Sosa walks forward and tries to get in some shots to the body. Oddly enough, I think Gamboa takes this round but the point deduction costs him. Gamboa 9-9. BLH scores it for Sosa, 95-93.