SAN DIEGO, Calif., Dec. 1, 2018 – Father Time came calling for Adonis Stevenson, sending Oleksandr Gvozdyk to Quebec City Saturday to collect a past due debt.
After putting on a boxing clinic for ten rounds, Gvozdyk (16-0, 13 KOs) scored a knockout win at 2:49 of the 11th round to become the new WBC and lineal light heavyweight champion Saturday in Quebec City. Stevenson (29-2-1, 24 KOs) was so badly hurt, referee Michael Griffin didn’t bother to administer a count.
Stevenson, age 41, counted on his power to carry him once again against Gvozdyk. But the 31-year-old Ukrainian was far too skilled and Stevenson was slowed down from his prime. “The Nail” was able to score against Stevenson with hooks and uppercuts, then moving laterally to left and right to avoid anything dangerous from Stevenson.
Skills pay the bills
Gvozdyk started cautiously, then caught Stevenson with a sensational counter right hook at the start of third round to knock him down. But it was ruled a slip. Later in the fight, Stevenson stunned Gvozdyk with his left hook in the 10th round. Gvozdyk stayed on his feet thanks to a little help from the ropes, avoiding a knockdown.
The younger man had fresher legs and fresher ideas when he scored his knockout victory. He controlled the narrative of this fight. Nevertheless, two of the three judges had Stevenson winning at the time of the stoppage, and the third had it a draw. This is why you don’t put your fate in the judges’ hands.
Gvozdyk will take his titles home to the Boxing Laboratory in Oxnard, California where he trains with Ukrainian stablemates Oleksandr Usyk, the unified cruiserweight division champion, and lightweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko, considered by many the world’s best pound for pound fighter. A former Olympic bronze medalist, The Nail had remained under the radar when compared to his countrymen for all but the most hardcore boxing fans. Not anymore. The trio now own ten world and lineal titles among them
The victory also seals another Manager of the Year honor for Egis Klimas, who guides the careers of all three men. He is a brilliant judge of talent and gives his fighters the support they need to succeed.
Gvozdyk won after training with Teddy Atlas, who came out of retirement at the urging of his two adult children to work with Gvozdyk. It’s a significant victory for Atlas as well, who could resurrect his training career thanks to this showcase victory.
What’s next for The Nail? There are multiple options. Liberating the WBC and lineal titles in the division held hostage by Stevenson the last five years puts lots of options in play.
Light heavyweight division due to deliver in 2019
Now the floodgates open with all manner of possible matchups in the competitive light heavyweight division. The entertaining possibilities include title holders Eleider Alvarez, Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, and former champions Sergey Kovalev and Sullivan Barrera. Call it an early Christmas present for boxing fans, who will enjoy plenty of exciting action among these names in the division throughout 2019, starting with a rematch between Kovalev and Alvarez scheduled in early February, venue TBA.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is an award-winning boxing journalist covering the Sweet Science for Communities and for boxing fans worldwide. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News.
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