Undefeated IBF light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) scored a trilling technical knockout victory over previously unbeaten Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs), as referee Gary Rosato waived off the bout after Beterbiev dropped Gvozdyk three times in a one-sided tenth-round to obtain Gvozdyk’s WBC light heavyweight world title, and became the lineal light heavyweight champion.
This main event was televised by ESPN from Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in front of 3,283 fans.
At the time of the stoppage, Judges John McKaie, and Ron McNair had Gvozdyk up on their scorecards (87-84 and 86-85, respectively), while Beterbiev was ahead on Judge John Porturaj’s scorecard (87-83). This was an extremely close, competitive, hard-fought bout that lived up to its hype as an evenly matched bout, and then some. This potential fight-of-year bout featured for the first time, two undefeated light heavyweight world champions, in their prime, fighting one another.
According to CompuBox punch statistics, Beterbiev connected on more punches than Gvozdyk (161 to 118), Gvozdyk threw more shots (614 to 515), and Beterbiev had a better a better connect percentage (31 to 19).
Beterbiev landed more jabs (48 to 24), and power shots (113 to 94) than Gvozdyk. He had a 49-8 edge in power shots over the last two rounds of the fight. Beterbiev connected on forty percent of his power shots in the bout. Gvozdyk threw 260-jabs, however, he only landed ten percent of them.
After a close first-round, Beterbiev threw a left hook at Gvozdyk during a clinch, and threw him to the ground, which referee Rosato incorrectly ruled a knockdown. This caused Teddy Atlas, Gvozdyk’s trainer to run into the ring, and yell at the referee after the round. The knockdown was correctly overruled by instant replay, and changed to a push before the start of the second-round. Beterbiev connected on a hard right jab that knocked Gvozdyk off balance in the second-round. Gvozdyk landed a powerful jab in the fourth-round, but then got nailed by Beterbiev at the end of the round via a left hook.
Beterbiev picked up his offensive pace in the fifth-round as he landed several powerful right hooks to Gvozdyk’s body, while Gvozdyk displayed good body work later in the round. Gvozdyk went down in the sixth, but it was ruled a slip. In the eighth, Gvozdyk landed a couple of big right jabs. Beterbiev hit Gvozdyk off the break, and received a warning from referee Rosato. They then traded hard right jabs at the end of the round.
The first eight rounds were difficult to score as the momentum swung back-and-forth in this action-packed bout, however, by the ninth-round, Beterbiev’s brutal power started to really bother Gvozdyk, who somehow survived the round despite getting staggered a couple of times, and appeared to be really hurt from Beterbiev’s hard right jabs, and powerful short left uppercuts.
Beterbiev forced Gvozdyk to take a knee, in the tenth, after Gvozdyk absorbed two hard right hooks. Beterbiev then dropped Gvozdyk via a powerful left, right combination, and shortly thereafter, Gvozdyk took another knee following a right to the head, which caused referee Rosato to stop the bout at two minutes, and forty-nine seconds.
The 2012 Ukraine Olympic Bronze Medalist was taken to Temple University Hospital after the fight as a precautionary measure, and is still there as of Sunday, although he appears to be fine. Gvozdyk was making his second defense of his WBC world title that he claimed when he scored a twelfth-round knockout over Adonis Stevenson in December of last year. He registered a fifth-round technical knockout over Doudou Ngumbu in March, in his first world title defense.
The two-time Russian Olympian, made his third world title defense of his IBF belt that he won after he defeated Enrico Koelling in 2017. Koelling is the only fighter who fought Beterbiev into the twelfth-round before he was stopped. Beterbiev maintains the highest knockout percentage of any world champion, at a hundred percent, followed by WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs), and WBA super featherweight titleholder Gervonta Davis (22-0, 21 KOs), who are at ninety-five percent.
Beterbiev, who fought for the second time in a year, the first time that he has done so since 2016, solidify himself as the best fighter in the light heavyweight division, and as one of the top ten pound-for-pound fighters in the world, with his victory over the second best boxer in his weight class. He also defeated Gvozdyk via a second-round knockout in an amateur tournament in 2009.
After the fight, Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank stated that Beterbiev will most likely make his IBF mandatory defense against Meng Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs), in the early part of next year, potentially in China. After Beterbiev gets his mandatory defense out of the way, fights fans would like him to fight undefeated WBA light heavyweight world champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs), or face the winner of the Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) vs. WBO light heavyweight world champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), which will take place on November 2nd.