In a showcase fight, unbeaten the NABF and NABO light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KOs) defeated the capable Craig Baker (17-2, 13 KOs) by a 6th round knockout on the undercard of the Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo card on Saturday night at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
The Gvozdyk vs. Baker fight was televised on ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Gvozdyk, 30, put Baker down on the canvas with a right hand in round 6. The fight was stopped after Baker got back to his feet and took some punishing blows from Gvozdyk.
The fight was quite dull to watch for the first 5 rounds, as Gvozdyk did a lot of moving and throwing 1-2 combinations. Baker wasn’t supposed to be competitive with Gvozdyk, but he kind of exposed the 2012 Ukrainian Olympic bronze medalist. Baker had the better hand speed, but not the superior power or boxing skills. Gvozdyk finally let his hands go in the 6th round and scored a knockdown. Moments later, the fight was over after Gvozdyk landed some nice shots.
Gvozdyk is ranked WBC #2, WBA #3, WBO #3, and IBF #5. The performance showed that Gvozdyk is not in the same league as Andre Ward, Adonis Stevenson, Artur Beterbiev, Eleider Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol. Someone like Sullivan Barrera would be a good fight for Gvozdyk. I don’t know if Gvozdyk could hang with Barrera. It would be a tough fight for him. I definitely see Gvozdyk losing to Ward, Stevenson, Alvarez, Bivol and Beterbiev. Those guys are really special. Top Rank will need to decide what to do with Gvozdyk if he loses in the near future. Do they keep him on to rebuild or cut their losses and find another Olympian that they can build up?
In other televised action on ESPN, featherweight contender Shakur Stevenson (3-0, 1 KOs) defeated David Paz (4-4-1, 0 KOs) by a 6 round unanimous decision. Stevenson, 20, hurt Paz in round 4 and knocked him down in round 5. Paz lost his mouthpiece a number of times in the fight and he received a stiff warning by the referee in round 4.
The final judges’ scores were 60-53, 60-53 and 60-53. Stevenson is going to need to find some power somewhere if he wants to make it to the top level of the featherweight division. He only has a little bit of power in his left hand, and he doesn’t throw jabs with any regularity. I cannot see Stevenson beating any of the good fighters in the featherweight division.
Heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte (21-1, 16 KOs) had an easy time stopping journeyman Malcolm Tann (24-6, 13 KOs) by a 3rd round knockout. Whyte wants a world title shot now. His promoter Eddie Hearn will need to make an offer to WBC champion Deontay Wilder’s management. Whyte also wants to fight WBO champion Joseph Parker. Whyte is ranked
“He knows I have a good left hook, so I was patient in the first. I have been off for 8 months. He didn’t expect the chopping right hand, once I hurt him with that, the left hook landed at will. He’s no joke, he was definitely trying in there,” said Whyte.
Whyte is ranked WBC #4, IBF #7, WBO #10 in the heavyweight division.
Other boxing results on the card:
Mike Alvarado KO 4 Sidney Siqueira
Bryant Jennings TKO 2 Daniel Martz