Things We’ve Noticed: Oleksandr Gvozdyk’s Blended Styles

By Tré Berry III🖋️

The unique nature and methodical approach to the man nicknamed ‘The Nail’, 🇺🇦Oleksandr Gvozdyk.

It is interesting seeing LINEAL/WBC World Light-Heavyweight Champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk (16-0-0, 13KO) in action for quite a few reasons. He tends to operate a little differently from his counterparts, and is a very fundamental boxer, yet can be difficult to time as an opponent due to his unorthodoxy, and sometimes his onset style is misconstrued by boxing pundits. Here in exploring his style, we will get a better understanding of what he is all about. 

The Ukraine right now is living in a Golden-Era of boxing for their country, with the likes of Pound-4-Pound elites such as 🇺🇦Vasiliy Lomachenko, 🇺🇦Oleksandr Usyk taking the world by storm. You have excellent fighters like the man we’re featuring in this post (Gvozdyk), as well as Sergey Derevyanchenko. They also have a few veteran holdovers who successfully casted themselves as strong Champions and got a taste of the spotlight like a Viktor Postol, and Artem Dalakian. As far as Ukraine’s overall depth, the magnitude of their talent stems all the way down to the likes of an ultra-talented young fighter like Denis Berinchyk (Look Him Up). While just the names listed and talent exhibited are very impressive, their renaissance also stems from a stylistic shift between generations.

THE DIFFERING OF STYLES – For the better part of 15 years (1999 – 2015), brothers 🇺🇦Vitali Klitschko & 🇺🇦Wladimir Klitschko took a stranglehold of the Heavyweight division, dominating their era as Champions. During the Klitschko’s run, they primarily fought with the textbook upright positioning that was common for many Russian and Eastern European fighters previous to them in differing decades, especially Wladimir, often sticking behind the 1-2 combination to either stay outside, or to get in and grab. Vitali was one who had that style naturally, but you could also see his willingness to try to adapt to a more reaction based approach to boxing. As their run came to a close, a new breed of Ukrainian boxers surfaced in bulk, and the common link between many of them is their connection with great Trainer 🇺🇦Anatoly Lomachenko (PAPA-Chenko) stemming back to their amateur days in receiving his tutelage. Anatoly’s blueprint was to get away from the old approach, to forming far more fleet-footed, versatile boxers, with unorthodox punching angles, defensively responsible volume punching and a different mindset altogether. Now throughout their history, you have a cast of strong fighters, boxers whom all fit either one of the two differing molds that we are discussing, with nothing in between. With the Klitschko’s being the old approach, the Loma’s & Usyk of today being the new wave, Oleksandr Gvozdyk is the one fighter of the crop that I can think of whose skill-set is a perfect blend between the two contrasting styles of the old and the new. Gvozdyk tends to fight upright, but he does so on purpose, due to him virtually having the height and reach advantage in most match-ups, keeping fighters at the end of his punch, which is where you can see the Klitschko’s influence. To pair with it, Gvozdyk has very good footwork, of course not to the level of a Lomachenko or Usyk, but he too is capable of the subtle step around in both directions, and can get to anywhere he needs to go in the ring to mount his attack, or to get out the way to either counter, or to sidestep a punch. He can also fire off punches at odd angles that opponents don’t see coming, which is the new schools influence that is in his style. I’m sure many fighters have often gotten confused to what was coming, especially if they have preconceived notions of seeing him work methodically in the more traditional stance, then finding his opportunities to step in and out to fire a 4, 5, 6 punch combination at angles they didn’t expect him to get to. He doesn’t throw many body-punches at all, but that is deliberate tactic used for him to stand tall, and he is as good as anyone at placing his shots with accuracy upstairs. Typically boxers who stand upright like that can get hit to the body often, but he’s excellent at blocking body-punches with his elbows, to the point where that does not qualify as a weakness, or a focal point for opponents and opposing trainers to study on film.

Because he is capable of doing what he does is the reason why he is often looked at as one of the best Light-Heavyweights in the world, due to his versatility and his calm demeanor. He doesn’t talk much at all, and doesn’t have a menacing look or persona…in fact, he’s an approachable figure that you probably wouldn’t think that was someone who chose boxing as a profession if you didn’t already know who he was. That’s what makes Gvozdyk who he is, and that is exactly what makes him unique.

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