By Luke Furman
According to World Boxing Organization President Francisco "Paco" Valcarcel, his organization will make a ruling this week on whether or not to sanction Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) vs. Vyacheslav "Lion-Heart Chingonskyy" Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) for the vacant WBO light heavyweight world title.
The fight takes place on November 25 at The Theater Madison Square Garden in New York City, and televised live on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.
Kovalev, who once held the WBO title, is looking to bounce back after suffering back to back defeats to Andre Ward. Back in June, Kovalev suffered a TKO defeat to Ward in Las Vegas.
The WBO belt became vacant last month, after Ward - who also held the WBA, IBF titles -announced his retirement from the sport of boxing.
Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva of Main Events, submitted a request to the WBO to sanction the Shabranskyy fight for the vacant world title.
"The promoter for Kovalev has requested permission to have us sanction the Kovalev-Shabranskyy fight for the vacant WBO title, and the relevant committee of the organization will make a decision this week," Valcarcel said to Vasily Konov.
Kovalev won the WBO title from Nathan Cleverly in 2013 when he stopped the then-unbeaten champion in Cleverly's backyard. After three straight title defenses, Kovalev dominated Bernard Hopkins to win a unanimous decision in a high stake unification to add the WBA and IBF belts. He lost the titles by way of a close points decision to Ward at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas last November.
Shabranskyy's only career blemish was last year's TKO defeat to top-rated Sullivan Barrera. Since the loss to Barrera, Shabranskyy has two straight wins both coming by way of knockout including his most recent win over Todd Unthank May where he secured the WBC USNBC light heavyweight title.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.