Boxing’s longest reigning world champion, Adonis Stevenson, and undefeated, mandatory challenger Oleksandr Gvozdyk made weight Friday just one day ahead of Stevenson’s 10th defense of his WBC Light Heavyweight Title in a SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION telecast Saturday, December 1 from Videotron Center in Quebec City.
SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION will air live on SHOWTIME and stream for free on the SHO Sports YouTube channel and the SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook Page beginning at 7:45 p.m. ET/4:45 p.m. PT, immediately preceding the Deontay Wilder vs. Tyson Fury SHOWTIME PPV. Wilder vs. Fury begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and also features unified 154-pound world champion Jarrett Hurd returning to take on Jason Welborn, Cuban heavyweight slugger Luis Ortiz facing off against Travis Kauffman and rising heavyweight Joe Joyce battling Joe Hanks.
WBC Light Heavyweight World Championship Bout – 12 Rounds
Adonis Stevenson – 174 ¼ pounds
Oleksandr Gvozdyk – 174 ½ pounds
Referee: Michael Griffin (Canada); Judges: Guido Cavalleri (Italy), Mike Ross (USA), Jack Woodburn (Canada)
“I know that Gvozdyk is a good boxer, he was a bronze medalist at the Olympics and he has a European style. His movement is good and he has good technique but there are definitely weaknesses that I plan to exploit.
“I don’t care at all that the bookmakers think I’m going to lose this fight. I’ve been the champion since 2013 and so many people have doubted me in all of my defenses. If I let that affect me, I would have lost my belt a long time ago.
“I’m very hungry. I want to win this fight by knockout. My hometown fans don’t come here to watch me fight 12 rounds, they want to see a body on the canvas. They’re always looking for the knockout and so am I. I know that all I have to do is touch him once and it’s check mate.”
“I believe I’m ready physically to do what I have to do. I have to be quicker, smarter, more concentrated and always one step ahead of Stevenson. His left hand is the stronger one but I can’t forget about his right hand either.
“Working with Teddy [Atlas] has been a great experience. He’s been a mentor for me. He’s a very demanding guy who won’t let me get away with a single mistake. That’s exactly what I need. He can help me tactically and even physically, we rebuilt our regular training pattern and I believe it will pay off.
“Despite Stevenson’s age, he’s still a very strong fighter. I know what he’s going to try to do. Like he said at the press conference, he’s going to wait for me to make a mistake to try to catch me. I have to be patient and 100 percent concentrated the entire fight. No blinking.”
Here is what Stevenson, Gvozdyk and their respective trainers had to say Thursday at Chateau Bonne Entente in Quebec City:
“Saturday is a big fight. I’m not underestimating Gvozdyk. I know he’s a good fighter and he’s hungry. He’s trained very hard to get my title. But everybody who comes to my home in Canada always wants my title, but it’s never happened and it’s not going to happen now.
“I’m looking for the knockout. That’s just my mentality and the way that I train. Sugar [Hill Steward] trains me to think that way but I can also go 12 rounds, it’s not a problem. I know that if he makes a mistake, I’m going to catch him. He only has to slip up once in 12 rounds. One mistake, one punch. That’s all it’s going to take. I’m ready. I know I can punch and it’s 12 rounds. I just need one punch. Just one. I’m going to catch him and the night will be over.
“I’ve been pushing myself in training and I’m going to put on another great performance come Saturday and will defend my title once again. In the words of my old trainer, Emanuel Steward, ‘knockouts sell’ and that’s what I’m going for in this fight. I know I’m facing a good boxer who’s coming in very determined. He’ll be ready, but it won’t be enough. Superman is in the building!”
“I’m glad to finally be here. I’m very excited. I want to thank Top Rank and GYM Promotions for finally making this happen. I respect Adonis Stevenson as a fighter, he’s a great champion. But I am ready to accept this challenge and on Saturday night there will be a new champion.
“I have one of the greatest trainers in the history of boxing so I’m very confident. We have a good strategy. We had an excellent training camp and I’m ready. Adonis is a great fighter. He’s a dangerous southpaw and this is a real step-up for me but it’s my time.
“People always ask about Stevenson’s age but George Foreman and Bernard Hopkins performed at a high level when they were 50-years-old. It really just depends on how you maintain your body, your living conditions, how you eat and how you train.
“I’m not worried about what the bookmakers say. It doesn’t mean anything that they think I am the favorite. I try to stay focused on the things that I need to be focused on, not what the bookmakers think. The further this fight goes, the better my chances are. My height, my movement and my patience will win me this fight.”
SUGAR HILL STEWARD, STEVENSON’S TRAINER
“I’m happy to be here once again. This is like a second home for Adonis. This fight is just going to be regular Adonis. Adonis wants to get a knockout. I love knockouts. This is how we train for every fight. It’s no disrespect to any fighter, but that’s just the mentality that we have. Adonis and I don’t believe in leaving it in the hands of the judges and that’s been working so far. We will continue to do what we’ve been doing.”
“Adonis has been training his whole life for something like this. This is a big world championship fight against a former Olympian. Welcome to big time boxing, this is what it’s all about. Come December 1, Adonis Stevenson is going to get another knockout.”
TEDDY ATLAS, GVOZDYK’S TRAINER
“We knew that this would be a very difficult fight but what we didn’t know was how difficult it would be to get here. That part of the fight is over, thankfully. We spent eight weeks in California preparing for this bout. Preparing for a tremendous champion. I don’t have to speak about how long he’s been a champion, his reign, his experience, how talented and dangerous he is as a puncher. I believe he’s the best or second-best puncher in boxing today. It’s either him or [Deontay] Wilder, whatever you choose.
“Stevenson has all of the qualities a great fighter needs. He has a great heart, he’s gotten off the canvas and showed tremendous heart late in the Badou Jack fight. This is quite a task that’s in front of us. We understand that. The good news is that we know exactly what we’re facing and we’ve prepared the last eight weeks for that. We have not overlooked anything. I have no doubt that although we have a very steep challenge in front of us, that on Saturday night we will have a new Light Heavyweight Champion of the World.”