From the humble beginnings, Ukrainian Light Heavyweight Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1) could be on the verge of breaking into the elite class of fighters after it was announced that Shabranskyy will be squaring off with former unified World champion Sergey ‘The Krusher’ Kovalev at Madison Square Garden on November 25th.

“I was very happy with the announcement , I have been waiting for a very long time for good fight and now I’ve finally got my chance.” Shabranskyy told me when I asked him how he felt about the upcoming clash with Kovalev.

Some would argue it’s the best time to fight Sergey Kovalev, The Krusher coming off back to back (controversial) defeats to Andre Ward combined with former trainer to Kovalev, John David Jackson calling him a “quitter” . But Shabranskyy doesn’t share the same view or seem to let any of the details make him complacent in the upcoming bout, being focused on doing his talking in the ring.

“It doesn’t mean anything to be honest. Sergey Kovalev has accomplished a lot prior to fighting Ward. In my opinion he is still a dangerous fighter. A very skillful fighter. So we will see what happens in the ring. I have no opinion on the Andre Ward fights because it was in the past. I am focused on the future”

Shabranskyy’s comments didn’t surprise me too much as the Ukrainian suffered a first career defeat to Sullivan Barrera in December last year and has since bounced back with two stoppage wins over Todd Uthank May and Larry Pryor. When I asked him about how he dealt with the defeat, he told me;

“It didn’t break me after my loss. I learned a lot from it, I learned to listen to my body more and care about my health more. I took the fight with Sergey Kovalev because I’m prepared for anything that comes my way. I’m prepared to try to climb higher.”

Hailing from the small town of Korotyshiv, Ukraine. Shabranskyy was introduced to boxing via kick boxing after his mother became concerned about her son fighting on the streets as a teenager.

“I was 13 years old and was first introduced to kickboxing by my mum, who got tired of me fighting on the streets daily. She took me to my first class and told me to take my energy and anger out on the heavy bag.  So I did, I fought my way up for three years to become two time world champion in the amateurs in both full and light contact . Unfortunately there was no future in that sport in Ukraine, so I transitioned to boxing when I was 15 years old.”

With the Ukraine becoming a breeding ground for gifted technical fighters, Rabranskyy summed up the success of Ukrainian fighters in few words when asked on how the former soviet state has become recognised for creating such athletes.

“The school of hard knocks. It’s an old school approach. The old Soviet Union coaches have been keeping the tradition of real training alive.”

Rabranskyy came to America in 2010 with LA Matadors to compete in the World Series of Boxing, where he came to meet world class trainer Manny Robles. It was made abundantly clear the close connection the two have.

“Family!” He told me defiantly when asked about the relationship between him and his trainer. “Manny is the first trainer I met when I first came here to train with LA Matadors in 2010. The rest is history. I consider him to be one of the most honest and real people who dedicates himself fully to his fighters. The guy doesn’t rest he knows boxing from both sides as a pro fighter and as a trainer. He taught me a lot, and I still learn every single day. I’m blessed that he has been in my corner from day one.”

Signed with Goldenboy Promotions, Shabranskyy comes across as a man with a stable life and has transitioned to the American culture with relative ease.

“Prior to Golden Boy I already lived in America for 2 years. I have a family and two beautiful kids. They support me 100%. I love it here. America has been good to me. I plan to stay.”

Written and interviewed by,

Adam Noble-Forcey