Monday, November 27, 2017

Kovalev Destroys Shabranskyy to Regain Championship

Barrera wins clear decision in a grueling fight and Gamboa gets decision over Sosa

Sergey Kovalev started out with a fast pace by throwing straight punches that made Vyacheslav Shabranskyy's face red. Shabranskyy landed a nice jab that pushed Kovalev back, but ever the veteran and more experienced fighter. Kovalev patiently set up an over hand right that floored Shabranskyy.  Although Shabranskyy was able to get back to his feet, he was dropped again by a combination from Kovalev.

Shabranskyy was clearly dazed and confused even as the two fighters came out for the second round. Kovalev showed a new wrinkle in his arsenal by establishing a hard jab to the body of Shabranskyy.

This once again opened up the upstairs straight shots that were crisp and crushing as they bounced off his foes skull and chin. Shabranskyy went down from the onslaught of punches and was also clearly hurt. The end was near as Kovalev closed in to end the night.

Another combination which started with an over hand right was the end. The fight was rightly stopped at the 2:33 mark of the second round when Kovalev landed one more combination.  With the victory Kovalev regained the WBO championship and stated that he is looking for big fights to clear out the division.

In the co-feature, Sullivan Barrera outboxed Felix Valera to a unanimous decision (98-88, 97-90, 97-89) victory to solidify his contention for a light heavyweight title shot.

Barrera, 21-1 (14), may have ended up winning on the cards convincingly, but there was a hurdle in the opening round. A left hand from Valera sent Barrera on his back midway through the first, leaving a gasp for those rooting for the Cuban defector in a fight he was matched to win. Once getting up, however, it seemed as though the 35-year old woke up and he ended up repaying Valera with a knockdown of his own by round's end.

Valera, 15-2 (13), who couldn't hide his emotions during a tearful ring walk, wore his emotions on his sleeve for the entire fight, and his gutsiness to try and produce a game changing shot created some intense exchanges in the second. Barrera ended up with a small cut above the left eye in the second, but low blows starting in the third were having a more serious effect on the fight. Valera continued to stray low throughout the rest of the fight, and referee Michael Ortega deducted a point from him on three separate occasions in rounds three, six, and eight. Meanwhile, Barrera was outboxing Valera with creative combinations that always ended with the cleanest punch to either the head or body of Valera. Eventually, Barrera strayed low himself and was deducted a point from Ortega in the final round, but the fight was way out of his grasp by then.

With the victory, Barrera remains a number one contender in the eyes of the WBA, and a mandotory shot with their light heavyweight title holder - Dmitry Bivol - is imminent.

Yuriorkis Gamboa (28-2, 17 KO's) was content to hold and try to land pot shot combinations in order to score and avoid exchanges where the heavier punching Jason Sosa (20-3-4, 15 KO's) could land combinations. It worked throughout the course of the fight, because despite being dropped and having a point taken away for excessive holding, Gamboa was awarded a ten round unanimous decision.  

The action started out slowly as both fighters continued to try and figure their foe out while trying to establish their game plan. Sosa pressed forward, while Gamboa used lateral movement in order to make Sosa reach and miss at times. Once Sosa was able to establish his jab, he consistently pushed Gamboa back and forced him to return to retreating. Several times Sosa was able to land a hard punch that seemed to have Gamboa visibly shaky at moments. His glove even touched the canvas, but both times that occurred it was ruled a slip.

That was until the seventh round when Sosa caught Gamboa and this time his gloves touching was ruled properly as a knockdown. Both fighters were determined to impose their will as the fight moved towards the final rounds. Gamboa was deducted a point during the final round for his holding and both fighters fought hard to finish out the fight. After all ten rounds one judge scored the fight 94-94 a draw, while the other two judges scored the fight 96-92 and 95-93 in favor of Gamboa.

Bakhram Murtazalien (11-0, 9 KO's) stopped Carlos Galvan (16-6-1, 15 KO's) in the fifth round after blitzing Galvan from the start. Both fighters were throwing powerful shots, however it was the better technique of Murtazalien that let his punches land first during their exchanges. Galvan was hurt to start the fifth and the referee stopped the contest after he was dropped mid way through the round.

Brooklyn native Frank Galarza (18-2-2)(11 KO's) had a tough test in going eight back and forth rounds with Jaime Herrera (15-5-1)(8 KO's). Galarza came out the fresher of the two fighters to start and was feeding off of the crowd, which had a large section of supporters. After both fighters exchanged and provided constant action throughout the eight rounds. Galarza benefited from the better experience in earning the unanimous decision by the scores of 80-72, 79-73, 80-72. With the victory Galarza could be back in the running for a bigger fight with one or two wins.

Middleweight Eric Moon (7-1, 6 KO's) succumbed to Meiirim Nursultanov (5-0, 4 KO's) of Kazakhstan 's best GGG impression. Nursultanov is clearly a prospect with power in both hands and a calm stalking style behind a technical jab. Moon was stopped while getting pummeled on the ropes at 1:54 of the second round.  

LeShawn Rodriguez (8-0, 7 KO's) looked good against Alex Duarte (7-3, 5 KO's). Using his jab to land thudding body shots that dropped Duarte in the second. Continued body work with a right hook upstairs ended the fight at 1:48 of the third round.

Enriko Gogokhia (6-0, 3 KO's) did his best Lomachenko impression by out boxing, hurting and dropping Jose Abreu (13-3, 8 KO's), during his dominate six round decision. Scores were 60-53 and 59-54 twice.

Ismael Villarreal (1-0) of the Bronx defeated Race Sawyer (0-5) by four round unanimous decision 40-35, and 40-36 twice in his pro debut.  

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