Sullivan Barrera stops Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in a shootout
INDIO, California — Sullivan Barrera was down, but not out.
Barrera survived a knockdown to the hard-hitting Vyacheslav Shabranskyy before dropping him three times in route to a seventh-round knockout victory.
With the win, Barrera improves to 18-1, 13 knockouts, while Shabranskyy suffers his first loss, dropping to 17-1, 14 KOs.
The fight was anticipated as a competitive, evenly-match fight between two light heavyweight contenders. A victory would put the winner in a position to possibly face fighters in the top 10 in 2017.
Some favored Shabranskyy, even thought he has mostly decimated his modest opposition.
Barrera had not fought since March 26, when he lost a unanimous decision to Andre Ward.
Barrera scored a knockdown in the opening round, courtesy of a right hand to the head of Shabranskyy. Not to be outdone, Shabranskyy dropped Barrera in the following round.
Both fighters had their moments over the next few rounds before Barrera began to pull away in the middle rounds. He was effective in landing repeatedly with his right hand, which Shabranskyy wore the brunt of on the left side of his face.
Barrera dropped Shabranskyy in round five and dropped a tired Shabranskyy again in the seventh round. Shabranskyy beat the count, but his corner threw in the towel, prompting referee Ray Corona to stop the fight at 2:05.
“I studied the fight when Shabraskyy fought Yunieski Gonzalez,” said Barrera after the fight. “I knew to counter with my right hand when he threw the jab
“I would like to challenge the top fighters in the division. People thought Shabranskyy was the best, but I proved them wrong. I could compete with anyone. I would like a rematch with Andre Ward.”
In co-feature action, Rashidi Ellis scored an explosive first round knockout victory over Eddie Gomez.
With the victory, Ellis improves to 17-0, 12 KOs. Gomez drops to 19-2, 11 KOs.
About a minute into the round, Ellis dropped Gomez with a right hand to the head. Gomez beat the count, but was met with a flurry of punches. A right hand dropped Gomez to the canvas, prompting referee Eddie Hernandez to stop the fight at 1:19.
Featherweight Ronny Rios won his fourth bout in a row, earning a knockout win when opponent Roy Tapia did not answer the seventh round.
Rios improves to 27-1, 12 KOs, while Tapia falls to 12-2-2, 6 KOs.
The bout was moved onto the HBO Latino broadcast when the bout between junior welterweights Antonio Orozco and Fidel Maldonado fell through due to Orozco collapsing earlier in the week due to dehydration.
After an even opening round, Rios was the more aggressive and effective fighter from the second round on. He landed the more-telling blows as both fighters stood in the pocket, especially with repeated right hands to the head.
By the fourth round, Rios had Tapia fighting off his back foot. Tapia slowed down considerably, with his punches having very little impact on Rios.
In the sixth round, Rios hurt Tapia with a left hook to the body. Rios landed a barrage of punches, but was unable to drop Tapia. At the end of the round, Tapia advised referee Ray Corona that he was unable to continue, prompting the fight to be stopped.
In preliminary action:
Unbeaten lightweight prospect Ryan Martin (18-0, 11 KOs), who is now being trained by Abel Sanchez, broke down Yardley Suarez (19-6, 10 KOs) before stopping him at 48 seconds of the fourth round.
Junior welterweight Vergil Ortiz, Jr. (3-0, 3 KOs) knocked out Nestor Garcia (0-2) at 3:00 of the opening round.
Welterweight prospect Alexis Rocha dropped Abraham Calderon (1-4) twice in route to a one-sided four round decision. All three judges scored the bout 40-34 in favor of Rocha, who improves to 6-0, 4 KOs.
Junior featherweight Javier Padilla (2-0, 2 KOs) of Indio dropped Jose Mora (0-2) three times in route to a second round knockout win. Time of the knockout was 44 seconds.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV since September of 2012 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, RingTV, and Knockout Nation. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing