STACKED BOXING CARD FRIDAY AT INDIO — They call him “Chingonskyy,” a play on words that in Spanish slang kind of means “bad ass.”
Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (17-0, 14 KOs) seeks to prove his nickname correct when he faces Cuba’s Sullivan Barrera (17-1, 12 KOs) in the main event at Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, Calif., on Friday Dec. 16. HBO Latino will televise.
Out of Ukraine comes this light heavyweight who was being shopped around a few years back and appeared on various fight cards before landing with Golden Boy Promotions.
“Of course my dream is to fight for the world championship,” says Shabranskyy (pictured) who is trained by Manny Robles.
Oscar De La Hoya spotted him on one of the fight cards and told his crew to sign him.
Here he is facing another light heavyweight with talent in Sullivan who just fought Andre Ward last year. He suffered his first loss but it told him where he stands among the others.
“I must take advantage of my opportunity and do what I do best. It would be great to get a knockout because I know I am going into his home turf and his promoter’s home turf,” said Sullivan. “It’s going to be very tough to get a decision. My goal is to knock him out.”
It’s a true battle between light heavyweight contenders with the same goal in mind. The winner moves into world title contention and the loser drops way back down the long line.
Shabranskyy, 29, has shown resilience. He’s not the fastest nor does he have that sledge-hammer power like Sergey Kovalev. But he does have strength and staying power. Training with Robles among other champions has been a boon to his fighting style which he calls “Mexican style” of course.
Sullivan, 34, was training with Abel Sanchez in Big Bear but decided to leave the icy cold mountains for the hot beaches of Florida. We’ll see if it was a wise choice.
Orozco vs Maldonado
Antonio “Relentless” Orozco (25-0, 16 KOs) risks his undefeated record and high ranking against New Mexico’s slugger Fidel Maldonado (22-3-1, 19 KOs) in their super lightweight clash.
It’s a very dangerous fight for San Diego’s Orozco.
The vacant WBC International title goes to the winner and Orozco seems to slip into a higher gear whenever the reward is large. Maldonado loves attention too and is not bashful about exchanging bombs. Remember his clash with Amir Imam? Numerous knockdowns led to a loss but he hung in there with glee. Some think his knockdown of Imam softened him up for Adrian Granados to finish the job in Canada.
“It’s a very dangerous fight for Orozco,” said Frank Espinoza who manages him.
A win by Orozco maintains his place at the top of the welterweight rankings. He’s ready for a world title shot. He cannot afford a slip-up.
Rios vs Tapia
Santa Ana’s Ronny Rios (26-1, 11 KOs) had his worst night at the Fantasy Springs Casino when he was blasted out in five rounds two years ago by Mexico’s Robinson Castellanos. Since that brutal loss that sent him to the hospital by ambulance, he’s returned to form with two impressive wins over Efrain Esquivias and Jayson Velez.
East L.A.’s Roy Tapia (12-1-2, 6 KOs) has been seeking to get a foothold but was derailed a year ago in Las Vegas and lost a split decision to Erik Ruiz. He got some traction this past July with a solid performance at Belasco Theater against Jairo Ochoa. But now he faces a contender in Rios. It’s the kind of fight that will show if Tapia is ready for the big time or not. He doesn’t pack power like some featherweights but neither does Rios.
Will the experience of Rios be too much for Tapia in their featherweight clash? Age is not a factor. Rios is 26 and Tapia 25.
Gomez vs. Ellis
New York City’s Eddie Gomez (19-1, 11 KOs) meets New England’s Rashidi Ellis (16-0, 11 KOs) for the vacant IBF North American welterweight title.
Both fighters have fought before on Golden Boy cards with Gomez winning the title at Fantasy Springs last May. It’s an evenly matched bout on paper. Both have speed but not eye-popping power. It’s all about confidence in this 10-round welterweight clash.
Several young prospects dripping with talent are also on the fight card.
San Diego’s Genaro Gamez (3-0, 3 KOs) looks like the real deal. This super featherweight has the total package of speed, power, agility and a well-polished bucket of fighting skills. He fights Miguel Barajas Moreno (2-1) who performed well in a losing cause at the Doubletree Hotel this past July against a fighter who was nine inches taller. In this fight, Gamez has only a four-inch advantage. It probably won’t matter.
Alexis Rocha (5-0, 4 KOs) is gunning for another knockout win. He’s the younger brother of Ronny Rios but fights as a heavier welterweight. The Santa Ana southpaw faces Abraham Ruiz (1-3) who finally won a pro fight after three losses in the Los Angeles area. Ruiz is from Puebla, Mexico.
Vergil Ortiz (2-0, 2 KOs) fights out of Indio but is originally from San Antonio, Texas. So far he’s looks right at home in Southern California. The guitar-playing super lightweight plays a mean tune and fights Mexico’s Nestor Garcia (0-1).
Other fights planned are super featherweights Ryan Martin (16-0) vs. Yardley Suarez (19-5); and Javier Padilla (1-0) vs. Johnny Lockette (0-1) in a super bantamweight bout.
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