Kovalev patiently stalked to start the second and could not miss with either hand. Soon Shabranskyy was down a third time. After a vicious followup left Shabranskyy on very shaky legs, referee Harvey Dock stepped in to stop it at 2:36.
Kovalev improves to 31-2-1, 26 KO's and regains the WBO Championship. Shabranskyy is now 19-2, 16 KOs.
Kovalev expressed interest in fighting all of the other beltholders now that Ward is retired. He included a special reference to "Chickenson" - WBC Champ Adonis Stevenson, who has appeared to avoid him after initially accepting a fight. It will be interesting to see if the winner of the co-main, Sullivan Barrera, will be face Kovalev next, now that it's for a world title belt. Barrera declined to meet Kovalev on this card as he felt the offer to face the "Krusher" was a little light.
From the third round on, Barrera took control as his conditioning and work rate were too much for Valera. When Valera did land, he tended to go low, as he had points deducted in the third, sixth and eighth rounds and is lucky he did not get DQ'd. Barrera also went low in the ninth and was deducted a point. The fight went the full ten but there was no doubt as to the victor.
Barrera won decisively on all three cards - 98-88, 97-90, and 97-89. He improves to 21-1 (14), while Valera falls to 15-2, 13 KOs. Barrera's promoter, Kathy Duva of Main Events, stated afterwards that Barrera would be given offers to fight either Kovalev or young WBA Champion Dmitriy Bivol, who was in attendance. If Barrera's track record is any indication, he will choose the offer with the most remuneration.
The first three rounds were pretty even as both men landed good body shots. Gamboa seemed a little busier but there was not much to choose between them.
In round four, Gamboa found his rhythm and clearly won the round with a stiff jab and combinations punctuated with body shots.
In round seven, Sosa dropped Gamboa. It looked more like a balance shot but this was clearly Sosa's round.
Rounds eight and nine, Sosa appeared to be a little busier and was getting in good body shots. Gamboa was still game and trying to win but was clearly tiring and frequently clinching. His lack of conditioning was starting to show.
In the tenth and final round, Sosa pressed and Gamboa held. Referee Ron Lipton took a point away from Gamboa for excessive holding. Not sure that I agreed with taking a point away in the tenth round when both fighters were tired but nonetheless that seemed to seal the decision for Sosa even though it was a competitive fight.
Regardless, Sosa falls to 20-2-4, 15 KO’s, while Gamboa improves to 27-2, 17 KO’s. It looks like the Cuban 2004 Gold Medalist will be back in line for a big fight after this. Golden Boy, his promoter, could put him in with Miguel Berchelt, their WBC 130 lbs. Champ, or Jorge Linares, their WBA 135 lbs. Champ. Gamboa would be a big underdog vs. either man.
Former NY Golden Gloves Champ LeShawn Rodriguez, 156-1/2, improved to 8-0, 7 KOs with an an impressive stoppage of Alex Sandro Duarte, 154-1/4, 13-3-1, 10 KOs at 1:48 of the third round of a scheduled six.
Meirim Nursultanov, 161-1/2, was extremely impressive in stopping previously unbeaten Eric Moon, 162-1/4, at 1:54 of the second round. Nursultanov went 13-0 in the World Series of Boxing, so his amateur pedigree is outstanding. He looks like yet another devastating fighter from the Egis Klimas roster. His pro record (excluding WSB) is now 5-0, 4 KOs, while Moon drops to 7-1, 6 KOs.
Ismael Villareal, 154-12, former two-time NY Golden Glove champ and son of former fighter Otilio Villareal, made his debut a successful one with a four-round unanimous decision over winless Race Sawyer. Villareal is now 1-0, while Sawyer falls to 0-5.