Sergey Kovalev def. Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, KO (Round 2, 2:36)
Sergey Kovalev came back to boxing tonight, fighting for the first time since his losses to Andre Ward. And while there were fair reasons to question just what we would see from Kovalev in this fight, any doubts were promptly wiped out in a dominating performance.
Kovalev simply steamrolled Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, dropping him twice in round 1, and then a third time in round 2. Shabranskyy made it back to his feet each time and kept coming forward but Kovalev had no troubles landing his trademark power shots. After the 3rd knockdown, Shabranskyy was clearly out on his feet, and after a few more punches, referee Harvey Dock wisely stepped in and waved the fight off.
With the win, Kovalev takes his first huge step in moving past the Ward fights. He improves his record to 31-2-1, and reclaims a world title. He also makes it clear that, with Andre Ward retired, Kovalev remains the sport’s top Light Heavyweight.
Post-fight, Kovalev talked about a possible match-up with Artur Beterbiev, and took the opportunity to once again dismiss nominal world champion Adonis “Chickenson” Stevenson.
Get highlights of the fight below, courtesy of HBO Boxing.
Round 2 finish:
Round 1 knockdown: