Photo by HBO Latino
Don’t call it an upset.
After losing a shutout unanimous decision victory against Andre Ward earlier this year, Sullivan Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs) returned to the ring tonight to score a seventh-round TKO victory against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (17-1, 14 KOs) to win the WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight title at the Fantasy Springs Resort Casino in Indio, California.
The scheduled 12-round fight headlined a three-fight telecast on HBO Latino.
The fight began ominously for Shabranskyy because he was dropped in the first round with a right hand. Barrera’s skill advantage was clear from the opening seconds.
However, Shabranskyy managed to score a knockdown of his own in Round 2 when a counter uppercut floored Barrera.
The fight seemed to be headed toward a competitive slugfest. However, a fighter’s skill level often takes time, and during Rounds 3 and 4, Sullivan demonstrated that he was the better fighter, while Shabranskyy struggled to even defend himself against a jab.
Barrera scored another knockdown in Round 5, but he was still unable to finish Shabranskyy. Though part of Barrera’s inability to stop Shabranskyy was his toughness and ability to survive, it was caused by Barrera’s activity level.
If he had worked the body earlier and if he had thrown more punches, he might have gotten Shabranskyy out earlier.
Nevertheless, Barrera scored a third knockdown in Round 7, which caused his corner to stop the fight at the 2:05 mark.
“Of course we would never expect this,” said Shabranskyy.
“We will decide next steps after we get over this,” said Shabranskyy.
“With this win, I proved all the people who bad mouthed me wrong,” said Barrera.
“This proves that my career in boxing is alive. I want a rematch with Andre Ward,” said Barrera.