New York, NY: On Saturday night, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) will look to regain the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title from The Theater at Madison Square Garden live on HBO World Championship Boxing against Vyacheslav “Lion Heart-Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs). The scouting report for this much-anticipated battle is below:
|Category||Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev||Vyacheslav “Lion Heart” Shabranskyy|
|Record||30-2-1 (26 KOs)||19-1-0 (16 KOs)|
|Strength||The Krusher has knockout power in both hands and can end a fight with any punch he throws. He has a sharp jab that has been effective in keeping his opponents at bay and has plenty of big-fight experience coming into this bout.||Shabranskyy is one of the division’s toughest fighters. He has an aggressive style with heavy hands and a granite chin. He applies steady pressure throughout the fight and does a superb job of breaking down his opposition.|
|Weakness||He tends to leave openings in his guard, which could be costly considering the power of his opponent.||His aggressive style can get sloppy at times, which has resulted in him hitting the canvas in prior bouts. He will need to fine-tune his defense to avoid a shot from one of the division’s biggest punchers.|
|Experience||Sergey has more professional bouts under his belt and has faced-off with the best in the sport. His previous 11 bouts have been world title fights.||Slava lacks the top-level opposition that Kovalev has faced; this will be the biggest fight of his career thus far.
|Power||Kovalev is called the Krusher for a reason. His main strength throughout his career has been his power. He throws each punch with bad intentions and can finish the fight in an instant.||Shabranskyy is extremely heavy-handed. He has remarkable power in both hands and possesses a straight right hand that can end any fight if landed clean.|
|Speed||Sergey has average speed that picks up once he smells blood and goes for the finish.||Slava has average speed and really turns it up a notch when he senses that his opponent is in trouble.|
|Endurance||Sergey has proven in recent years that he can go a full twelve rounds, but we’ve also seen him lose steam in later rounds.||Shabranskyy’s endurance has yet to be tested. He has gone 10 rounds just once in his career, which resulted in a decision win over former ranked contender Yunieski Gonzalez.|
|Accuracy||He has a pin-point accurate jab and delivers rigorous shots to the body that have ended fights in the past.||Slava’s most accurate punch is his right hand. If timed correctly, it can be a game-changer in the fight.|
|Defense||Sergey’s best defense is his offense. His power has always been a game-changer in bouts. It forces opponents to rethink their game plan.||The Ukrainian relies on offense more than anything. He likes to attack his opponents and break their will from start to finish.|
|Chin||Although he was stopped in his previous bout under questionable circumstances, Kovalev has proven throughout his career that his chin is more than durable.||Vyacheslav was stopped in his lone career defeat, however, he has proven that his chin is durable. He has been knocked down in numerous fights and made it back to his feet to take the win.|
|Style||Sergey is an offense-minded fighter who likes to walk his opponents down until he smells blood and can go for the finish.||Shabranskyy is an aggressive, in-your-face fighter who wastes little time in trying to break his opponents down and finish the fight.|
|Crowd Support||The Krusher should have the advantage; he spent over three years as the champion at 175 lbs. and has a crowd-pleasing style of fighting.||The Ukrainian may not have the crowd support that his opponent will have, but his aggressive style will undoubtedly earn him some new fans by the end of the fight.|
|Intangibles||Since suffering his only two career defeats in his pro career, The Krusher wants to get right back in the ring and get back one of his titles. Kovalev has been through the gauntlet in the light heavyweight division – he has faced nothing but the best throughout his career. He does not plan to break that trend anytime soon.||There was no title on the line when Shabranskyy originally accepted this fight. The Ukrainian is willing to take any fight to climb the ladder in this stacked division. He will attempt to impose his will and fight fire with fire when facing an opponent whose style is almost identical to his own.|
|The Match-Up||1. Will Sergey be mentally prepared for this fight?
2. Will Shabranskyy be able to handle Sergey’s power?
3. Will Sergey get back to being the Krusher?
4. Will Shabranskyy be able to shine under the big lights?
According to Main Events’ matchmaker and 2015 NABF Matchmaker of the Year, Jolene Mizzone, “This is the type of fight every fight fan should want to see because both fighters can punch! After going through over 10 different potential opponents who turned down a fight with Kovalev, I give Shabranskyy credit for taking less than one day to accept the fight. Kudos to both guys for accepting this fight. Sergey, who is coming off two losses, was still ready to fight anyone. Shabranskyy accepted this opportunity before it was sanctioned for the vacant title, when no one else was willing to get in the ring with The Krusher.”
Kovalev vs. Shabranskyy is a 12-round fight for the vacant WBO Light Heavyweight World Title promoted by Main Events and Krusher Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Medoff Vodka and Leon.ru. Barrera vs. Valera is a 10-round light heavyweight fight promoted by Main Events in Association with Shuan Boxing Promotions. Gamboa vs. Sosa is a 10-round super featherweight fight promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Peltz Boxing and ZR Entertainment. The event will take place at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.