We have a new king in the Light Heavyweight division and his name is Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs).
Live on ESPN from the Liacouris Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Friday, October 18, 2019, both Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) placed their titles and undefeated records on the line.
It was your classic boxer vs. puncher affair. The buzz surrounding this contest was palpable, and it did not disappoint.
Both men had clear paths to victory. For Gvozdyk, he needed to stay on the outside and box for the entirety of the bout. Beterbiev on the other hand had a much more simple task, he just needed to land.
The beginning of the contest saw both men implement their game plans accordingly. Gvozdyk stayed on the outside as he clearly had the edge on the outside. Beterbiev simply could not land a significant punch for most of the opening bell.
In a weird sequence towards the end of the round, both men got tangled up but it was Beterbiev who was given the benefit of scoring a knockdown.
After returning to their respective corners, the perceived knockdown was taken away due to the commission deeming that it was more of a shove rather than a punch.
Most of the contest saw Gvozdyk stay on the outside and try his best to stay away from anything that Beterbiev attempted to throw his way.
Everything was working just fine for Gvozdyk, but it was becoming clear that the constant pressure that was being utilized by Beterbiev was starting to take its toll on his opponent.
It was truly a tale of two halves as the legs beneath Gvozdyk began to fail.
In the 10th round, everything came crashing down as Beterbiev put on an absolute show. Several rights and lefts sent the WBC champion reeling. He couldn’t keep his balance as he went down to the mat for the first official knockdown of the match.
It was clear that Gvozdyk was in serious trouble and Beterbiev sensed it. He went on the attack again with non-stop punches and Gvozdyk had no choice but to take a knee.
Teddy Atlas, the trainer of Gvozdyk, stood up as though he wanted to call an end to the match. Instead, he gave his fighter one last chance for a final hurrah. It never came.
Beterbiev once again sent him down, but this time for good. The referee waved off the contest and awarded Beterbiev with the victory.
Beterbiev is now the only unified champion in the Light Heavyweight division and he also holds the claim to lineal champion (the man who beat the man). His constant pressure and power punching was the difference in the fight.
Final Grade for Beterbiev: A
The unified champion looked mightily impressive on Friday night.
Before facing Gvozdyk, Beterbiev’s resume was extremely thin. A clear decision victory seemed to be on tap for Gvozdyk, but Beterbiev would hear none of it.
He showed that his style of fighting, which is non-stop pressure and unheard of punching power, can lead him to victory against just about anyone in the division.