By David Finger
The shocking announcement by Andre Ward that he was retiring from professional boxing has left a void at the top of the 175-pound division, which in turn has created an opportunity for little known Ukrainian light heavyweight Vyacheslav Shabranskyy (19-1, 16 KOs). Shabranskyy, the #10 contender in the WBO light heavyweight tournament, was slated to fight #2 ranked contender Sergey Kovalev for the vacant WBO International Light Heavyweight title on November 25 at Madison Square Garden in New York.
But with the world title now vacant, this has opened up a rare opportunity for both Kovalev and Sharbranskyy. The WBO Championship Committee voted unanimously to declare the Kovalev-Sharbranskyy be for the vacant WBO world title. Sharbranskyy is seen as an underdog against Kovalev, but it is nonetheless a tremendous opportunity for the Ukrainian, who now finds himself in line for a world title fight instead of an international title fight on November 25th.