By Tre Berry
The fight lasted 5 rounds with Oleksandr ‘The Nail’ Gvozdyk (17-0-0, 14KO) collecting data and adapting to his highly unusual opponent in Doudou Ngumbu (38-9-0, 14KO) with his herky-jerky unorthodox movement that he was using to try and offset and capitalize on some openings.
In the 5th round, a sequence occurred with Ngumbu circling out the way to re-establish his positioning in the ring, and his leg ultimately gave out on him due to either a severe calf cramp, or some type of calf tear, and reeled in agonizing pain.
As for Referee Eric Dali, either he was completely unaware of what the rules for in this instance, or he tried in good faith everything within his power to give Ngumbu an opportunity by trying to give him 5 minutes to recover, similar to that awarded for a low-blow infraction by the opposing fighter. After huddling up with some people at ringside, he decided to call the fight as he should have in the first place, which goes in the books as a TKO victory for Gvozdyk.
THE COLD HARD TRUTH – You can’t help but feel bad for Ngumbu. With 37 years of life, 12 years as a pro and 46 professional fights, he finally gets awarded an opportunity at a World Title, only for it to be wiped away due to some type of non-contact injury instead of it being dictated through normal parameters.
It is unclear at this point whether he will get another opportunity at a World Title again, and it is more unclear the nature and magnitude of the injury to even wonder where his career will go from here. It is also unfortunate on Gvozdyk’s behalf due to fighting 2 fights in a row where he couldn’t enjoy the results of his bouts. From achieving his major goal of becoming a World/Lineal Champion at the expense of unfortunate circumstances with Adonis Stevenson, and with this development in his fight with Ngumbu, not being able to finish it the way any competitor likes to finish a fight, and that’s through honest, normal measures.
With that being said, all of that is out of his control, and all he can really do is continue to advance forward and actively keep searching for suitable opponents. This capped off a very strange day of boxing in totality when you factor in what happened elsewhere in the world of boxing, in addition to what happened here.