Kovalev and Shabranskyy to fight for vacant IBA light heavyweight title in addition to WBO belt

The International Boxing Association recently announced that it will sanction the upcoming light heavyweight world title fight between former unified world champion Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KO's) and Vyacheslav "Lion Heart-Chingonskyy" Shabranksyy (19-1, 16 KO's) on Nov. 25 at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.

This means the IBA light heavyweight title will be on the line in addition to the vacant WBO world title.

Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KO’s), 34, born in Russia and now residing in Los Angeles, is returning to the ring after suffering back-to-back defeats to Andre Ward, who retired in September. Their first bout in November 2016 ended with a controversial unanimous decision in a fight that could have gone either way. However, Ward knocked out Kovalev in a masterful performance in their June grudge match at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KO’s), a 30-year-old Ukraine native fighting out of Los Angeles, has won two straight since getting knocked out by former amateur standout and current world title contender Sullivan Barrera with a big overhand right. He was last seen in the ring in August when he stopped Golden Boy prospect Todd Unthank-May in the seventh-round of a fight for the vacant WBC (USNBC) light heavyweight title.

In the co-feature, Barrera takes on former interim titlist Felix Valera (15-1, 13 KO’s), who lost a 12-round unanimous decision to hot prospect Dmitry Bivol in May 2016, in a 10-round bout, with the possibility of facing the winner of the main event.

Two former world champions square off in the opening bout of the HBO tripleheader (10 pm. ET/PT) as Jason Sosa (20-2-4, 15 KO’s) fights Yuriorkis Gamboa (26-2, 17 KO’s).

The 10-round non-televised undercard bout between Bakhram Murtazaliev (10-0, 8 KO's) and Carlos Galvan (16-5-1, 15 KO's) will be for the IBA super welterweight world title.

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