Shabranskyy Sparred With Bivol, Benavidez for Kovalev Fight

By Keith Idec

NEW YORK – If Vyacheslav Shabranskyy loses to Sergey Kovalev on Saturday night, it won’t be because he wasn’t as prepared as possible.

Shabranskyy said before a press conference Wednesday at Madison Square Garden that his two primary sparring partners for his fight against Kovalev were world champions Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) and David Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs).

Bivol, the highly regarded WBA light heavyweight champion, was Shabranskyy’s main sparring partner for the first half of his 10-week training camp, before Bivol left to knock out Australia’s Trent Broadhurst in the first round November 4 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. Benavidez, the newly crowned WBC super middleweight champion, was Shabranskyy’s primary sparring partner for the second half of his camp at trainer Manny Robles’ gym in Norwalk, California.

kovalev-shabranskyy (3)

“When I spar with guys like that, on the elite level, I felt comfortable,” Shabranskyy said. “So I feel like I’m ready for this chance here.”

If Ukraine’s Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs) upsets Russia’s Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs), who’s a 14-1 favorite, he could battle Bivol in his following fight. That didn’t deter them from working together recently.

“We got monsters [for sparring] because he’s going up against a monster,” Robles said. “It helped him tremendously because you had to bring your ‘A’ game every time you came into the gym. You have to against these guys. You can’t have an off day. These guys are monsters. They were great. … Even if it’s a sparring session, these guys go to work.”

The 26-year-old Bivol, a rising star who wants title unification fights in his immediate future, will attend the card headlined by Kovalev and Shabranskyy on Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden (HBO). The Kyrgyzstan native also could face the winner of the bout that’ll air before Kovalev-Shabranskyy, a 10-round light heavyweight battle between Cuba’s Sullivan Barrera (20-1, 14 KOs), the mandatory challenger for Bivol’s title, and the Dominican Republic’s Felix Valera (15-1, 13 KOs).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by garfios on 11-23-2017

[QUOTE=1hourRun;18231625][img][/img] WAR Vyacheslav Shabranskyy!!! end this bigots career![/QUOTE]It was a good fight, here is another clip...

Comment by sportbuddha on 11-23-2017

I wanna see this guy reach the very top of this sport because his ring walk music has got to be 'They call me Mr Lover Man..they call Mr Lover..Shabba!'

Comment by sammybee on 11-22-2017

Kova will knock him out

Comment by steeve steel on 11-22-2017

Shabranskyy is tailer made for Kovalev. No chance. Sorry.

Comment by 1hourRun on 11-22-2017

[img][/img] WAR Vyacheslav Shabranskyy!!! end this bigots career!

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