Sullivan Barrera KOs Vyacheslav Shabranskyy at Fantasy Springs

RINGSIDE REPORT — INDIO, Ca.-Sullivan Barrera traded knockdowns with Vyacheslav Shabranskyy before stopping the Ukrainian light heavyweight in the seventh round to win the WBC USNBC title on Friday. It was fun while it lasted.

Barrera (18-1, 13 KOs) was coming off a loss against current champion Andre Ward. He needed a win and got it against the very tough “Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (17-1, 14 KOs) at Fantasy Springs Casino. It wasn’t easy at all.

From the opening round it was apparent that Sullivan’s overhand right cross was able to connect with force. The Cuban fighter tried to end it in the first but Shabranskyy survived.

For those who have seen the Ukrainian fight before, it was no surprise.

Sullivan tried to force the issue in the second round and ran into a right uppercut and right chopping blow. Down he went with a look of surprise.

“I wasn’t worried about the knockdown. I wasn’t hurt.  It was a flash knockdown,” Barrera said.

Both realized that trading freely was unwise and dangerous. Barrera slipped into a boxer mode and kept Shabranskyy off balance with body and head attacks. The right hand was always cocked and ready for a mistake. He used it judiciously and with full effect.

After showing the right cross so often, Sullivan suddenly saw an opening for a left-right combination that floored Shabranskyy who was moving backward from the blows. It came at the end of round five.

Barrera was fully aware he could connect with the overhand right and found the perfect moment in the seventh round. A right cross and another right floored Shabranskyy and a white towel was waved from Shabranskyy’s corner. The fight was stopped by referee Ray Corona at 2:05 of round seven.

“I saw Shabranskyy. I saw a lot of fights and that his jab he would throw and be open for the right and the overhand right,” said Sullivan. “He showed he’s a warrior.”

Barrera got the win and it came by convincing knockout.

Now Barrera and his promoter Main Events are looking to return to the big time.

Other bouts

An East Coast battle saw Boston’s Rashidi Ellis (17-0, 12 KOs) blitz New York’s Eddie Gomez (19-2, 11 KOs) and take the IBF North American welterweight title by knockout at 1:19 of the first round in their welterweight clash. A lightning right cross crashed Gomez’s guard and down he went. He looked shaky after beating the count and Ellis wasted no time in firing right hands that sent Gomez crumbling to the floor. Referee Eddie Hernandez did not bother to count.

“We practiced the right hand during the whole training camp,” said Ellis who missed the birth of his child during his camp in Puerto Rico.

Ronny Rios proved too experienced for East L.A.’s Roy Tapia who showed resilience and craft in absorbing a nonstop body attack from the Santa Ana contender. There were no knockdowns in the featherweight fight but Rios had some big moments especially with left hooks to the body. Tapia’s corner wisely stopped the fight at the end of the sixth round.

Vergil Rocha (3-0, 3 KOs) was calculating and decisive in knocking out Nestor Garcia (0-2) with a counter left hook at 3:00 of the first round in their super lightweight contest. Ortiz fights out of the nearby Indio Boy Boxing Club but is originally from Dallas, Texas.

Alexis Rocha (6-0, 5 KOs) floored Abe Calderon twice with body shots in round two and four but the fight went the full four rounds in their super welterweight bout. All three judges scored it the same 40-34.

Ryan Martin (18-0, 11 KOs) connected with a left hook at 48 seconds into the fourth round to knock out Yardley Suarez (19-6, 10 KOs) in their lightweight clash. Martin was sharp with his punches. He fights out of Tennessee but is training with Abel Sanchez.

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