Monday, March 20, 2023  |


Oleksandr Gvozdyk defeats late-sub Josue Obando by decision

Oleksandr Gvozdyk held the WBC light heavyweight title until his loss to Artur Beterbiev in 2019. (Photo by Amanda Westcott/Showtime)

Oleksandr Gvozdyk defeated late-sub Josue Obando by decision over six one-sided rounds Saturday night at the Derby Room on the premises of the Fairplex in Pomona, California. 

All three judges scored the bout 60-54 in favor of Gvozdyk, who improves to 18-1 (14 knockouts). 

Gvozdyk, a Ukraine-born fighter who now resides in Oxnard, California, was rusty from the opening bell, having not fought since losing to Artur Beterbiev in October 2019. As the bout progressed, Gvozdyk began letting his hands go with more conviction, throwing and landing three- and four-punch combinations.

By the fourth round, Obando had a bruise above his left eye. Gvozdyk continued to outbox his opponent, at times becoming more aggressive in order to end matters, but Obando utilized his ring savviness to get out of danger. 

With Gvozdyk in control, it was a matter of if he would be able to finish off Obando during the final round. Again, Obando, who was in survival mode, was able to keep Gvozdyk away from him until the final bell sounded.

Gvozdyk, who lost the WBC world light heavyweight title to Beterbiev in a fight he was winning on two judges’ scorecards, was originally scheduled to fight Jorge Miranda of Argentina, but Miranda reportedly was not able to enter the United States on Wednesday.

Gvozdyk’s ability to shake the ring-rust during the brief Obando fight suggests that the 35-year-old will be sharper in his next outing.

“He did what [he] was asked to do, [which was] get rounds in after [more than] three years out of the ring,” trainer Marcos Contreras told The Ring Saturday night. “We were ready for 10 rounds, but the [California State Athletic] commission only approved for a six-round bout.”

According to Contreras, Gvozdyk was used as a sparring partner for Ring Magazine super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and former WBO world light heavyweight titleholder Gilberto Ramirez in their respective bouts against Dmitry Bivol. 

Obando, who resides in the boxing hotbed of Guadalajara, Mexico, drops to 20-35-2 (15 KOs). 

In the main event of the MarvNations Promotions card, junior middleweight prospect Fernando Vargas Jr. of Las Vegas dropped Argentina’s Geronimo Sacco (10-7-1, 2 KOs) twice en route to a second-round knockout win. The time of the knockout was :54. 

Vargas Jr. improves to 8-0 (8 KOs) and is trained by his father, former junior middleweight titleholder Fernando Vargas.

Welterweight Jerry Bradford of Tarzana, California, improved to 9-1 (5 KOs), defeating Toledo’s James Wesley (3-2, 1 KO) by unanimous decision. All three judges scored the bout 60-54 in favor of Bradford.

Heavyweight Federico Pacheco won by knockout at 2:36 of the second round, stopping Halston Williams of Henderson, Nevada. Williams was making his pro debut.

Pacheco (2-0, 1 KO), who resides in nearby South Los Angeles, is the younger brother of unbeaten super middleweight Diego Pacheco. 

Francisco A. Salazar has written for The Ring since October 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]