This one was definitely worth the wait, as both combatants showed their fortitude, and why they are each looked at as top Light-Heavyweights. With see-saw action, multiple ebbs and flows in the fight, 🇷🇺Artur Beterbiev (15-0-0, 15KO👊👊) became the sport of boxing’s newest Unified World Champion, putting 🥉🇺🇦Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk (17-1-0, 14KO👊) away late in the 10th round by way of TKO victory. Beterbiev paired the WBC Title belt along with his IBF Light-Heavyweight Title and left the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with a heightened sense of belonging atop the division, with the hardware to pitch his personal case in the pecking order.
Gvozdyk showed his hand early and uses nonstop lateral side-to-side movement, routinely slipping out of range to his right. He also mixed up his combinations very well to the head and body, sneaking the jab and some hooks to the body, then came upstairs with solid head shots at the end of his sequences. At the end of the first, there was and incorrect call by Referee Gary Rosato ruling Gvozdyk down after Beterbiev pushed him off to Gvozdyks right, to where he lost his footing and hit the canvas. A very encouraging scene took place as 📼replay was in effect, and the knockdown call was reversed to a slip for the Judges sake of scoring, overturning the ruling of a knockdown, taking away the immediate controversial talking point of the fight, with no worries lingering going forward.
In the second round, Beterbiev started to let his hands go in sequence with Gvozdyk’s combination punching, looking to win the ⚖️50/50 exchanges. He stunned Gvozdyk a couple of times within the round, gaining Gvozdyk’s respect upon having a better understanding of how hard he could hit, but Beterbiev couldn’t follow up properly before the rounds end. The third round Gvozdyk landed beautiful combinations, 6-7 punches in sequence and had Artur constantly turning due to his superior footwork, but Beterbiev’s concentration and belief was fully in tact through it all. At the end of the 4th round, Beterbiev hurt Gvozdyk with a big right hand, but the 🔔bell sounded before he could follow up and inflict the damage he intended to inflict.
For whatever reason in the 5th round, Gvozdyk slowed down on the lateral movement and started to fight Beterbiev more on a linear plane, throwing his shots while in front of him. He still landed effectively, but Beterbiev began to land solid, strong good shots to the body. Speaking of the body shots, Artur landed a good one to the pit of the stomach that doubled Oleksandr over temporarily. While hurt, Gvozdyk did well to connect his punches upstairs. In large, the first half of the fight was largely a tactical one, with spurts of action in between, two Championship level prize-fighters flexing their muscle, both with their fists, and with their minds as well, showing as much boxing IQ as they had shown skills, and guts to this point of the contest.
Gvozdyk wobbled Beterbiev landing a counter right cross to Beterbiev’s neck. He followed up with a few more as the fight finally broke open with both going for broke at the end of the 6th round. Gvozdyk went down with seconds to go, but Referee Rosato called this one correctly as there was no real effective shot that put him down. The 7th round, Gvozdyk started putting more mustard on his punches, landing hard to the body, then coming upstairs with hard shots trying to dent his beaded opponent. Beterbiev also stepped up his urgency while increasing his output, and from this point on, the firefight ensued. The 8th round, you started to see Gvozdyk increasingly land his 1-2 combinations upstairs, getting more comfortable firing it, and Beterbiev starting to show cracks in his defense, however Beterbiev continued to truck forward and fight onward. Towards the backend of the stanza, they both simultaneously landed bombs of a right hand, and both took it remarkably well – a standout moment in the fight.
Beterbiev found his big moment in the 9th round, landing repeatedly at will and started to 🔨hammer “the Nail” upstairs, staggering Gvozdyk all over the ring, and what started it all was a mean body-punch from Beterbiev. A passionate speech by 🗣️Head-Trainer Teddy Atlas got Gvozdyk motivated and ready to head back out in the 10th round, but Beterbiev’s punches spoke louder than Atlas’s words, as Beterbiev hurt Gvozdyk once again, and went in full hunt mode, putting Gvozdyk down in the 10th round. Gvozdyk got up, but he looked to be in real trouble, and Artur opened up his 🎒full bag of power punches in variety, constantly rocking the Ukrainian fighter within the round. Gvozdyk went down for a second time, though this one was a botched call, as no legal punch landed, but at the very least, this is largely academic at this point considering how the fight ended, and what you could take from this moment was that Gvozdyk’s legs were starting to give on him. After the Referee counted, he told Gvozdyk that he would give him one more chance. As the round was coming to a close, Beterbiev was determined to not let the opportunity slip away like it had in a couple of previous rounds, and he landed a thudding right hand that put Gvozdyk down once again, which prompted the Rosato to follow through on his statement hat he issued to Olek, and ultimately stopped the fight via TKO.
A hell of a fight it was, and by late stoppage victory, Artur Beterbiev secured the biggest win of his professional career, and became the Unified WBC/IBF Light-Heavyweight Champion of the World. He also kept his 💯perfect knockout streak in tact to further drive home his standing as one of the dominant punchers in all of boxing, and now one of its highest ranking Champions. The Light-Heavyweight division is on 🔥fire, and the increasingly growing blaze was 💨stoked here with an impressive outing from both high caliber prize fighters who put it all the line on Friday night.