INDIO, CA — Sullivan Barrera rebounded from his March loss to Andre Ward with hard-fought seventh round KO over favored Vyacheslav Shabranskyy at the Fantasy Springs Casino on HBO Latino.
BARRERA PULLS OFF THE “UPSET:” This was an entertaining scrap for all seven rounds. Barrera jumped out to an early lead when he dropped Shabranskky in the first off a series of overhand rights. Shabranskky looked shell-shocked until he buzzed Barrera with a counter right uppercut and score his own knockdown in the second.
From there, the fight turned into a contest of “whoever displays competent defense first wins.” Both guys were lunging in and susceptible to counter shots. The ensuing rounds revealed that Barrera could handle the dogfight, while Shabranskky wilted until his corner threw in the towel following two overhand rights that scored a second knockdown.
“With this win, I proved all the people who bad mouthed me wrong,” said Sullivan Barrera. “This win is for all the boxing fans outs there. I want to specifically thank my trainer, Derik Santos. He sat me down, we watched the tapes, and he said to me, ‘Sullivan, this is what you have to do to get the win.’ This proves that my career in boxing is alive. I want a rematch with Andre Ward.”
Barrera is definitely getting ahead of himself talking about a Ward rematch, but this fight shows he is a capable fighter and quality addition to the 175 pound division.
As for Shabranskky, you have to wonder if his team is kicking themselves for turning down that career-high payday Ward offered in March.
ELLIS MAKES QUICK WORK OF GOMEZ: Rashidi Ellis was supposed to be a close fight pitting a young gunner (Eillis) against a still young but experienced fighter (Gomez). Ellis had other plans and made Gomez look like cannon fodder via a quick first round KO.
The undefeated Ellis lived up to his nickname of “Speedy” by blasting Gomez with a counter right cross. Gome never saw the punch and toppled backward on the seat of his trunks. He beat the count only to back pedal into another right that sent him careening through the ropes.
“It’s been a long time since I was able to get a knock out in the first round,” said Ellis. “I told my team I was going to win, and I entered the ring with confidence. When I landed that first jab, I felt an urgency. I could see it in his eyes that he knew I was going to win. Now with this belt, I feel like I can take anyone.”
RONNY RIOS RTD6 ROY TAPIA: This fight featured two East L.A. guys. Rios was just too much for Tapia and administered a beating over the last few rounds before the corner wisely called it off. Rios had a three-year experience edge and that shined through in this bout.
“It was a body shot in the first round that really affected me,” admitted Tapia. “After the fight, Ronny came up to me and told me to keep my head up and to keep fighting. I’m going to listen to him.”