Looking to continue his rise in the light heavyweight division, one of Golden Boy Promotions’ most talented contenders Vyacheslav “Lionheart-Chingonskyy” Shabranskyy (17-0, 14 KOs) will face Sullivan Barrera (17-1, 12 KOs) on December 16 at the Fantasy Springs Resort and Casino.
The result of the bout — taking place on the eve of the highly anticipated “Final 1” battle between future Hall of Famer Bernard “The Executioner” Hopkins and Joe Smith Jr. — will have a major impact on the entire light heavyweight division.
The clash will be the opportunity of a lifetime for the “Chingonskyy” who will not only be defending his title, but his spotless professional boxing record. Golden Boy Promotions caught up with Shabranskyy ahead of his pivotal fight, in an exclusive Q&A session.
How did you receive the nickname “Chingonskyy”?
Oscar De La Hoya first called me “Chingonskyy”. I was just about to sign my contract with Golden Boy, and he asked me ‘How do you say your name?’ When I replied, ‘Shabranskyy’, Oscar looked at me and said, ‘You are no longer Shanbranskyy, you are Chingonskyy.”
How has the transition been from living in the Ukraine to moving to Los Angeles?
It’s been different. In the Ukraine, I was living in a more amateur life style. Since coming here, meeting Manny Robles, and becoming a professional, it’s completely different. It’s completely changed me. When I first came here, my mentality was to just come and fight and get inside the ring. Manny had to tell me to take it easy, to refocus, and take it one fight at a time. Los Angeles isn’t a pit stop, it’s become my second home.
What has been your favorite childhood memory of the Holiday season? Are these traditions you share with your family today?
Our holiday season is different in the Ukraine from here in the US. We usually have massive celebrations in January. It’s very much like how Latinos do it – the entire family visits the elders, like the grandma’s house, and we sit, we eat, drink, and just sing, and the older members in the family will give gifts to the youngest children. I will definitely teach my children to celebrate Christmas and the holidays the way that Americans do as well – I love how we give each other presents and spend time together. I also love Thanksgiving. When I first came in 2010, I was alone and Manny introduced me to his entire family during this specific holiday, and each time I have celebrated it since then, my family has just grown.
What are some of your favorite things about being a Golden Boy Boxer?
Golden Boy gives me a good push to perfect myself in the sport, especially professionally. It reminds me of who I am-as Chingonskyy.
What are some fight tactics you have been working on in the gym recently?
I always focus on everything, and I don’t like to leave anything out. Every time I come to the gym, Manny teaches me something new. I never stop learning.
Barrera is a Cuban fighter, who is very tactful and logical inside the ring. How do you think your styles will match up when you meet him inside the ring?
I’ve never fought anyone with his type of style. Although I’ve seen many of his videos fighting, you never know who you are going to get in the ring. We know that he has switched up his training camp, he’s moved to Miami, which means we could see him fight a little different. We will tell what kind of Barrera shows up in the ring that day. It doesn’t worry me that much though. All I know is that I am training hard, and will be prepared for it. I’ll be able to tell you after the first round how it’s going.
How does it feel to return to HBO Latino as the main event?
It feels great. It’s a huge accomplishment for my career. It shows me that I am close to the level that I want to be at, and that I am closer to the fights I want. It is a step in the direction of where I desire my career to go.
How was it sparring with Bernard for his fight against Sergey Kovalev?
I learned so much sparring with Bernard. He is a very smart fighter inside the ring. After every sparring session, we would sit down, and he would explain to me everything that he knew. I was so excited to be in training camp with him. Bernard’s fight against Sergey Kovalev was not an easy fight, and Bernard gave him a tough twelve rounds. Bernard was able to adapt and strategized every round to last the 12 rounds.
What fuels your love and dedication for boxing?
I’ve been boxing since I was 13 years old. I was fighting a lot in school, and my mother got tired of it. She would pick me up from school and take me to a kick boxing class, and would tell me to take the energy from fighting people in the streets and use that energy to fight people in the gym. I’ve been boxing for a little more than half of my life. My family has always been very supportive of everything that I do, and that fuels me.
Who are some of your heroes in boxing?
When I was younger, and trained as an amateur in the Ukraine, I admired Mike Tyson. I would watch his videos, and I would get so excited to watch him, especially when he was about to fight. Now that Tyson has retired, I would say I look up so much to Vasyl Lomachenko. I think he is one of the best fighters who is out there now who we should all watch out for.