Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Sullivan Barrera Headline an Explosive HBO Latino Triple Header

Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Sullivan Barrera Headline an Explosive HBO Latino Triple Header

By Anthony "Stacks" Saldaña

December 16, 2016

INDIO, CALIFORNIA - This Friday, December 16, at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, California, undefeated Vyacheslav "Lionheart Chingonskyy" Shabranskyy (17-0, 14 KO's) will put his unblemished record on the line against the tough Cuban, Sullivan Barrera (17-1, 12 KO's), in a 10-round bout for Shabranskyy's WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight title. For Shabranskyy, who is coming off big wins over Oscar Rojas, Derrick Findley, and Yunieski Gonzalez, he looks to impress fans in attendance and fans that will be watching on HBO Latino.

We train to go the distance, especially knowing he has been under the care of a new trainer so we don’t know what kind of Barrera we are going to get. Sullivan is one of the toughest opponents I have faced yet. He’s faced fighters like Andre Ward and has gone the distance and has demonstrated his skill. Knowing that he needs this fight will make him even more hungry in the ring, and we are expecting him to come forward.
— Vyacheslav Shabranskyy

For Sullivan Barrera, this will a defining fight for him as he is coming off the only loss in his career, to Andre “SOG” Ward, and with victory looks to get back in the mix of things at the light heavyweight division.

I believe this fight is the most important fight of my career. This fight will demonstrate that I am among some of the top fighters out there. My fight with Andre Ward has built me, and has given me the maturity to step back and think clearly. I needed that loss to win this fight.
— Sullivan Barrera

The importance of this battle will have huge implications on the division and gives both fighters a great opportunity to be involved in championship level fights with a victory. This will be the biggest test of Shabranskyy's young career and be a great measuring stick for him and his team. My prediction is Shabranskyy will be in a knock down drag out war with Barrera but will pull off a decision victory.

In the co-main event and what could possibly be fight of the night, the former WBC Silver featherweight champion and Santa Ana-born Ronny Rios (26-1, 11 KO's), will take on East Los Angeles' Roy “The Pitbull Tapia (12-1-2, 6 KO's). Rios, who is ranked fifth by the WBC and fourth by the IBF at featherweight, will be taking this fight against Tapia at a catch-weight of 124 pounds.

This is the best camp I’ve ever had. I know Roy is younger, hungry and he’s going to come forward, and hopefully we can give fans what they want — a great fight.
— Ronny Rios

For Tapia, this is the biggest fight and biggest test of his career. FrontProof Media recently caught up with Tapia and he stated that he is absolutely prepared for this bout. 

I’m in the best condition of my life. I’m focused, and I’m mentally and psychically prepared to come away with a victory. At the end of the day, it’s just me and him in that ring. He has two arms and two legs just like me and we’re gonna rumble.
— Roy Tapia

This fight is definitely a toss up and can go either way. Tapia has had issues with cuts in the past, but has former Army Combat Medic, Sergio Estrada, in his corner to help if and when that issue does arise. Rios moving down in weight and Tapia being two pounds stronger may be the edge the speedy Tapia needs.

The Rios Vs Tapia fight was elevated to the co-main event when undefeated Antonio "Relentless" Orozco (25-0, 16 KO's), who was scheduled to take on Fidel "The Atrisco Kid" Maldonado Jr. (22-3-1, 19 KO's) for the vacant WBC International super lightweight championship, fell ill. Orozco fainted Thursday morning and was taken to the hospital as a precaution and later released. He has been ruled out of his fight against Maldonado Jr. tonight 

Due to dehydration, Antonio was taken to the hospital. He is doing well and we look forward to him returning to action in the near future.
— Stefan Friedman, Golden Boy Promotions spokesman

When Maldonado found out about the Orozco situation, he had a difficult time believing the story. FrontProof Media was able to speak to Maldonado Jr. on Thursday evening and he expressed his discontent with the recent news. 

I’m real disappointed because you know, this guy had eight weeks to get ready and couldn’t make weight. Come on, he’s the number one contender for the WBC or whatever. It’s real disappointing because I wanted to go up there and get the W and take his spot.
— Fidel Maldonado Jr

To open up the televised HBO Latino card, IBF North-American welterweight Champion, Eddie "E-Boy" Gomez (19-1, 11 KO's) from the Bronx, New York, will put his title on the line against undefeated Rashidi "Speedy" Ellis (16-0, 11 KO's) of Lynn, Massachusetts. Gomez, whose lone defeat came at the hands of Francisco “Chia” Santana in 2014, is coming off a big win in May as he defeated John Karl Sosa for the vacant IBF North-American welterweight title. Now, in his first defense, he'll go toe to toe with rising prospect Ellis. Ellis, who is the former WBA Fedrecentro and WBC Latino welterweight champion, has fought his last two bouts at middleweight, super welterweight and will be dropping back down to welterweight as he takes on Gomez. In his last bout in July at Fantasy Springs, Ellis was dropped by unknown Luis Rocca and has been virtually untested in his career. Fans should expect an action packed fight as these two hungry prospects look to make a name for themselves in the welterweight division. 

Other bouts include

Ryan Martin (16-0, 9 KO's) vs Yardley Suarez (19-5, 10 KO's) - (8 Rounds) Lightweight

Vergil Ortiz (2-0, 2 KO's) vs Nestor Garcia (0-1) - (4 Rounds) Jr. Welterweight

Alexis Rocha (5-0, 4 KO's) vs Abraham Calderon Ruiz (1-3) - (4 Rounds) Welterweight

Javier Padilla (1-0, 1 KO) vs Jose Mora (0-1) - (4 Rounds) Bantamweight

(Feature photo: Tom Hogan / Hogan Photos-Golden Boy Promotions)

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