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.