Oleksandr Gvozdyk has sensationally dethroned Adonis Stevenson to capture the WBC championship, with a devastating eleventh-round stoppage victory.
In front of a virulently hostile crowd in Quebec City, the Ukrainian displayed impressive composure coupled with sharp combinations and educated pressure throughout in order to assert his authority on the contest, consummating his dominance in the penultimate round with a barrage of powerful punches as the beaten champion slumped dramatically against the ropes, prompting referee Michael Griffin’s timely intervention.
The early rounds were punctuated by tension has the notoriously heavy-handed Stevenson menacingly stalked his opponent around the ring, looking to unleash his a bazooka of left hand; a weapon that has flattened many previous challengers to Stevenson’s crown. Gvozdyk, ostensibly determined not to join the list, successfully navigated through the opening stages with lateral movement and evasive footwork as Stevenson struggled to find his range.
The ‘Nail’ also proved that he possessed some offensive firepower of his own in the third round, after a counter right hand heavily dropped the champion; something which was inexplicably ruled a slip by the referee, much to the indignation of Gvozdyk’s cornerman Teddy Atlas.
Nevertheless, Gvozdyk, who by this point was naturally growing in confidence, began to pull away slightly as he was able to consistently connect with straight right hand counters which repeatedly stung the champion; silencing many of the assembled fans at the Videotron Arena, apart from a vocal contingent of travelling Ukrainians.
Stevenson was undeterred however, and displayed the tenacity of a champion determined to retain his prized WBC belt, something which enabled him to battle his way through similar adversities against Badou Jack in May in order to salvage a controversial majority draw.
The champion continued attempting to line up his vaunted left hand, but Gvozdyk showed his class and was able to clip the champion on a number of occasions as the fight progressed into the later stages as Stevenson, mouth agape, began to appear increasingly laboured and gradually became more inclined to retreat – a stark contrast to his aggressive start.
Stevenson enjoyed sporadic success in the ninth, however, landing two powerful left hands, in addition to a thunderous left hook in the tenth round that wobbled Gvozdyk, but the challenger again displayed impressive resilience and punch resistance to withstand the onslaught and stun Stevenson himself with a rapid volley of punches as the tenth round came to a close.
Gvozdyk rocked Stevenson in the eleventh round with a series of meaty straight right hands, and showed lethal finishing instincts to apply the coup de grace and pounce on the hurt champion before Michael Griffin stepped in.
With the win, Gvozdyk ends the five year-reign of one of boxing’s most divisive characters – someone who was the subject of widespread vitriol from boxing fans for his seeming reluctance to unify – and closes out a memorable and highly fruitful year for Ukrainian boxer in joining compatriots Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleskandr Usyk as a world champion.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________