Even after two straight losses to recently-retired Andre Ward, Sergey Kovalev has another chance to win a world title.
Kovalev's HBO fight against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy, currently scheduled to headline an HBO card at Madison Square Garden on November 25, has been elevated to a WBO light heavyweight world title fight. The organization made the announcement during its annual convention.
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva told ESPN Kovalev is extremely happy to get the chance to compete for his old world title and fight a plethora of new challengers for the remainder of his career.
"We are very happy that Sergey will get the opportunity to begin winning his titles back in November," Duva said. "Sergey was a great champion, taking on absolutely everyone who wanted to fight him during the over three years that he held the light heavyweight title. I have no doubt that he is anxious to get right back into it and continue to take on the toughest challenges he can find."
The WBO title is currently vacant due to Ward's retirement last month, in which he also vacated the WBA and IBF titles. Kovalev held all three of those titles before losing them to Ward last year in the first of two fights the two boxers had. Kovalev won the WBO title, his first world title, when he knocked out Nathan Cleverly in 2013.
Despite the two losses, Kovalev is still ranked No. 2 in the WBO's official rankings while Shabranskyy is at No. 10, the highest ranking Shabranskyy has between all four major boxing organizations. Shabranskyy won the WBC United States (USNBC) light heavyweight title in his last fight when he beat Todd Unthank May in August.
The co-main event of the November 25 card has WBC International light heavyweight champion Sullivan Barrera taking on Felix Valera. The only other notable fight confirmed is a junior lightweight battle between Jason Sosa and Robinson Castellanos.