To the surprise of many on June 9th, the news was spread that 🥉🇺🇦Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk (17-1-0, 14KO👊) would announce his retirement from boxing at the age of 33. Gvozdyk was a multi-talented, intriguing boxer, who had accomplished a good deal at all levels. As an amateur standout, he compiled a 225-30 overall record (unofficially), and capped his storied tenure at the unpaid ranks with a Bronze-Medal in the ◯◯◯◯◯2012 London Olympics.
Turning pro at the age of 26, he impressed pundits on his way up for his fundamentals, and steady pace, methodically running through the competition. He put himself further on the map when he knocked out 🇫🇷Nadjib Mohammedi to win the NABF Light-Heavyweight Title. Gvozdyk furthered his position as a strong world contender, and something of a boogeyman by dominating 🇺🇸Tommy Karpency, 🇲🇼Isaac Chilemba and 🇨🇺Yunieski Gonzalez in back-to-back-to-back fights. After a period of failing to get a Titlist to fight him, Gvozdyk would finally get his opportunity in 2018 against Lineal/WBC Light-Heavyweight Champion 👑🇨🇦Adonis “Superman” Stevenson. Stevenson, even at the age of 41, was still explosive and had the Ukrainian in moments of trouble, and gave him fits in the first 4 rounds of the fight, but Gvozdyk, then- at the time handled by Trainer Teddy Atlas, made the adjustments needed to gain control of the fight, and he never yielded up. Gvozdyk would see his dreams come true as he pummeled Stevenson in the 11th round for the knockout, and becoming the new Champion of the Light-Heavyweight division…though the circumstances surrounding the fight with Stevenson’s health following the knockout prevented him from celebrating the way he would have liked to.
For Oleksandr Gvozdyk’s 1st title defense, he fought veteran journeyman 🇫🇷Doudou Ngumbu…who suffered an injury in the 5th round that prevented him from continuing, so very much like the previous fight, Gvozdyk was left without an opportunity to celebrate the moment. Being a true professional, Gvozdyk and his handlers set up a mega-showdown with fearsome IBF Light-Heavyweight World Titlist 🇷🇺Artur Beterbiev. With Beterbiev being a 2-fisted battering ram, Gvozdyk resorted to using a lot of side to side movement to try to take advantage of Beterbiev’s plodding feet, which worked a great deal early, but Beterbiev was running the marathon race, and slowly broke the Ukrainian down in a painful display of power punching, eventually knocking Gvozdyk out to become the Light-Heavyweight divisions unified Champion.
Assuming that Gvozdyk post-COVID19 would regroup and try to push to get back to title contention, he decided that at this point, enough was enough, and 🔈announced his retirement from boxing. Perhaps his rationale for leaving while still at the peak of his skills had to do with a multitude of things – what happened to Adonis Stevenson in their fight, Olek’s brain being rattled late against Beterbiev before being knocked out, and having a wide sort of education and other aspirations to bounce towards aside from boxing, which in accumulation may have made it easier for him to leave. During his time in the sport, he carried himself with dignity, and represented the sport well. A Champion inside and outside of the ring, we wish him well on whatever future endeavors he may embark upon on his continued journey.