Oleksandr Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs) put in a less than impressive performance in beating Mehdi Amar (34-6-2, 16 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision to win the vacant WBC interim light heavyweight strap on Saturday night on ESPN at the Hulu Theater inside Madison Square Garden in New York City.
The judges scores were 117-111, 116-112, 118-110. Boxing 247 scored it 117-111. Gvozdyk faded towards the end and was hurt in the 11th and 12th rounds by big shots from Amar.
Gvozdyk landed 256 of 960 punches for a connect percentage of 27. You don’t see too many light heavyweights that throw almost 1000 punches in a 12 round fight. That’s the type of work rate that you see from fighters in the lighter weight classes. The fact that Gvozdyk could throw that many shots is impressive. The problem is that when Gvozdyk gets in with better opposition than Amar, he’s going to get clocked if he tries to throw that many punches. Gvozdyk wants to fight the winner of the Adonis Stevenson vs. Badou Jack fight. Gvozdyk won’t be able to throw that many shots against those guys without getting nailed with something big and hurt. Gvozdyk was hurt tonight in the 11th and 12th rounds by Amar. Gvozdyk got careless and he paid for it by getting nailed. Amar landed 135 of 536 shots for a connect percentage of 25.
”It’s a great feeling,” Gvozdyk said after the fight in winning the interim WBC light heavyweight title. ”I’m looking forward to fighting for the regular belt. In my next fight, I’m looking to fight the winner of Adonis Stevenson-Badou Jack.”
It was lucky for Gvozdyk and his promoters at Top Rank that the World Boxing Council allowed him to fight fringe contender Amar for their interim WBC light heavyweight title instead of a good fighter like Marcus Browne. There’s a good chance that Gvozdyk would have lost to Browne if he’d been inside the ring rather than #11 WBC Amar.
It’s too bad that fight will happen soon, because Gvozdyk does not look ready to fight the winner or even the loser of the Stevenson-Jack fight. Top Rank would do well to be a little strategic with their fighter Gvozdyk by targeting 34-year-old WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, who looks a lot more vulnerable at this point than Stevenson. Just going by how Stevenson looked in his last fight against Andrzej Fonfara, I think it could be a fast knockout win over Gvozdyk. All that time that Gvozdyk has wasted trying to get in position for a title shot against Stevenson. He might not like what he finds when he does get inside the ring with the Canadian based fighter. At 40, the southpaw Stevenson still hasn’t lost his punching power, and he still has very good hand speed. He’s clearly faster than Gvozdyk, and more powerful. The only champion I would give Gvozdyk any chance of beating is Kovalev, and that’s only because he’s got stamina problems and he can’t take body shots.
Previously unbeaten lightweight contender Felix Verdejo (23-1, 15 KOs) was beaten by knockout artist Antonio Lozada Jr (39-2, 33 KOs) by a 10th round knockout. Lozada wore down the ring rusty Verdejo, who was coming off of a 13 month layoff, dropped him in the 10th. Lozada continued to blast away at Verdejo until the fight was halted by referee Eddie Claudio. The official time of the stoppage was at 2:37 of round 10.
Christopher “Pitufo” Diaz RTD 4 Braulio Rodriguez
Jose “The Sniper” Pedraza UD 8 Jose Luis Rodriguez
Joseph Adorno TKO 1 Ivan Gil de Lamadrid