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Oleksandr Gvozdyk wrests title from Adonis Stevenson with 11th-round stoppage

Oleksandr Gvozdyk won the WBC light heavyweight title in his 16th pro fight. Photo by Amanda Wescott-SHOWTIME
01
Dec

LOS ANGELES — Badou Jack sat there with a little grin on his face, thinking he might have been a little responsible for what had just transpired over 2,500 miles away. He wanted another crack at Adonis Stevenson, after fighting to a draw with the light heavyweight titlist back in May.

Sitting at a round table backstage at the Staples Center before the Deontay Wilder-Tyson Fury title fight, Jack watched as a right, followed by a left, followed by a devastating right to the chin suddenly spelled the end of eight-plus unbeaten years for Stevenson on Saturday at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City, making Oleksandr Gvozdyk the new WBC light heavyweight titleholder.

“I thought it was a close fight, until the time Gvozdyk knocked him out,” Jack said. “Stevenson showed his age. He’s 41 and he’s getting up there in age. He had a lot of tough fights. I’m not a big puncher, but I can beat you up and I can break you down. Ask any fighter I faced.

“I wanted the rematch with Stevenson.”

For the first few rounds, it looked like Jack might get it. After a slow start, Gvozdyk (16-0, 13 knockouts) had swayed the fight in his favor from the seventh round on and stopped Stevenson at 2:49 of the 11th. At the time of the stoppage, Stevenson was winning the fight on the scorecards of judges Jack Woodburn (98-92) and Guido Cavalleri (96-94), while judge Mike Ross had it even at 95-95. RingTV.com had it 96-95 through 10.

Gvozdyk moves in on a stunned Stevenson to land his finishing punches. Photo by Amanda Wescott-SHOWTIME

Through six rounds, Stevenson seemed in control, up on RingTV’s scorecard 48-46. That’s when Gvozdyk became more active. He started the seventh more aggressive, pressuring Stevenson and landing a left to the body.  In the eighth, Stevenson started well, ripping a left to Gvozdyk’s body, but Gvozdyk responded with a hard right that backed up Stevenson.

At the outset of the 10th, Stevenson appeared to have Gvozdyk in some trouble when he connected with a left to the chin. But Gvozdyk recovered midway through the round, while it appeared Stevenson looked like he punched himself out.

That set the stage for the 11th.

Stevenson (29-2-1, 24 KOs) took a right to the head that backed him up with around 1:12 left in the round. Gvozdyk landed another right as the one-minute mark approached, and sensing he was giving Stevenson problems, he poured on the pressure. Gvozdyk stepped forward with a right that stunned Stevenson, followed by a left that forced him against the ropes.

Stevenson, seemingly out on his feet, took another brutal right from Gvozdyk, causing a sweat halo, before crumbling in the corner. Referee Michael Griffin didn’t even bother to count.

“Stevenson was getting tired,” Jack said. “You can see it. When he didn’t finish Gvozdyk in the 10th, he was done. Gvozdyk fought a different fight than I fought against him. He stood there with Stevenson. I wasn’t that impressed with Adonis.

“He became exhausted and Gvozdyk got him.”

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