Adonis Stevenson set for title defense against Oleksandr Gvozdyk on Dec. 1
Following years of criticism for his inactivity and lack of credible opposition, Adonis Stevenson has transformed the narrative.
It was announced Wednesday that he’ll defend his lineal light heavyweight championship against Oleksandr Gvozdyk, marking his second fight in 2018 against a credible threat ranked in the top 6 by The Ring. The 175-pound title tilt is set for December 1 in Quebec City. A native of Haiti, Stevenson has resided in Quebec since age 7.
Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 knockouts) met Badou Jack in May, a thrilling fight that resulted in a draw. “Superman” was being battered by the Swede, but a devastating body shot that connected in Round 10 kept him in the fight and ensured he would keep his belt.
Now, the 41-year-old will make a mandatory WBC title defense for the first time since 2013, and it’s curious that it’s gone on this long.
“I know many believe December would be the end of my reign against this young undefeated Olympic medalist,” said Stevenson, The Ring’s No. 3 fighter at 175 pounds. “The message I am prepared to send with this fight is: I am still the No. 1 light heavyweight and I still have several chapters to add to my journey as world champion. … You will not be let down, I will win by KO!”
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Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs) is being trained by Teddy Atlas for his first title challenge after years spent with Marcos Contreras; the Olympic bronze medalist’s camp will remain in Oxnard, California. The 31-year-old Ukrainian is rated No. 6 by The Ring and is regarded for his boxing ability, but he’ll be stepping way up in competition.
“I am one of the best boxers in the light heavyweight division and the time has come for me to prove it to the rest of you,” Gyozdyk said. “The WBC gave me this opportunity and I am thankful for it. Adonis has been in this position too long. My time is now!”
Stevenson long has been dogged by detractors. Matched against a second viable threat in a calendar year, the story could be different on December 2 with a victory.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger