Beterbiev stops Gvozdyk … Unifies WBC/IBF Light Heavyweight Titles

By David Martinez / dmboxing.com

In a much anticipated light heavyweight unification fight between two undefeated champions, Artur Beterbiev (15-0 / 15 by KO) scored a tenth round KO over Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1 / 14 by KO) at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.

Gvozdyk opened up round one impressively by using nonstop lateral movement and excellent combinations.

At the end of round one there was a call by referee Gary Rosato which ruled that Gvozdyk had gone down from a punch into the ropes. After a review on the TV replay it was ruled a push by Beterbiev and, thus, was not a knockdown.

In round two Beterbiev applied more forward pressure and stunned Gvozdyk a few times, gaining slight momentum.

In the third, Gvozdyk had a good round by landing nice crisp combinations, but Beterbiev took the shots and stayed content to just come forward with a few hard shots of his own.

Although I had Gvozdyk winning round four, Beterbiev hurt Gvozdyk with a solid right hand at the end of the round; but the bell rang before he could follow up with more damage.

Round five was the first time I saw Gvozdyk slow down with his effective lateral movement. He began to take more shots standing in front of Beterbiev, and actually took some hard punches to the stomach area. When Gvozdyk moved more to his right in an attempt to avoid Beterbiev’s right hand, it certainly took away his jab (as moving to your left gives one a better angle for the jab).

Round six was the last round that I gave Gvozdyk, as he momentarily stunned Beterbiev with a countering right cross to the neck with better movement.

Round seven was the most exciting round of the fight with both giving it their all with back and forth action, and with Beterbiev slightly winning that round on my card.

In round eight Gvozdyk landed some nice assorted head shots, but Beterbiev kept pace by moving forward with great determination and focus to break down Gvozdyk.

Round nine proved to be a huge turning point in this close fight. Beterbiev landed repeatedly and at will, staggering Gvozdyk all over the ring with effective body punching.

Round ten saw Beterbiev clearly the fresher of the two and he dropped Gvozdyk once, and then twice more as the outcome of the fight became very clear.

As the round was coming to a close, Beterbiev closed the show with a right hand dropping Gvozdyk a third time, and referee Rosato stopped the contest at the 2:49 mark of the round.

At the time of the stoppage the official judge’s scorecards read: 87-84 and 86-85 for Gvozdyk, and 87-83 for Beterbiev. I had previously picked Gvozdyk to win in a close, twelve round decision; but at the actual time of the stoppage, I had the Russian winning 86-85, five to four in rounds, over the Ukranian.

It was a terrific fight between two of the best in the current 175 pound weight division, with Beterbiev keeping himself perfect in knockouts, 15 total in 15 fights. He is the only current world champion with a 100 percent knockout percentage. Beterbiev becomes the first fighter since Andre Ward to unify the light heavyweight title.

A rematch is not likely in the near future, as Beterbiev’s next fight is an IBF mandated bout against another unbeaten fighter, Meng Fanlong of China, which is proposed for January 2020.  

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