Beterbiev KOs Gvozdyk, unifies IBF/WBC LH titles

By Kurt Wolfheimer at ringside
Photos: Darryl Cobb Jr.

In a spectacular light heavyweight world title unification showdown, IBF champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) scored a tenth round KO against WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) on Friday night before 3,283 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.

Gyozdykbeterbiev 8

Beterbiev was credited with a knockdown at the end of round one, but it was overruled as a push after an instant replay review. Both fighters landed big shots as the bout progressed. The relentless Beterbiev had Gvozdyk hurt and holding on in round nine. Gvozdyk finally took a knee in round ten. Beterbiev then battered him to the canvas two more times in the round to end it! Time was 2:49.

Beterbiev was behind on two of the three scorecards at the time of the stoppage! After nine rounds, judges had it 87-84 Gvozdyk (John McKaie), 86-85 Gvozdyk (Ron McNair), and 87-83 Beterbiev (John Poturaj).

“For this moment, it’s my most important fight,” said Beterbiev afterward. “I had big work to prepare for this fight.”

Keys to victory? “I think you have to ask my coaches about that. I have three coaches. We work in the gym. We work hard, and we have some targets. My first target, second target and other one comes soon.”

“It doesn’t matter {who I fight next.} Anyone. I’m focused on the title, not on the name.”

Ringside Summary:

Gvozdyk was winning a close opening round when it all almost changed in the closing seconds. Both fighters were in a clinch. Beterbiev tried to throw a left in the clinch and Gvozdyk was thrown to the ground. It was originally ruled a knockdown but changed at ringside to a slip.

The WBC champion slowly edged his way up in the second with solid shots from distance Beterbiev did work well the few times he got inside with short hooks.

Gvozdyk the WBC champion gained momentum throughout the third and fourth rounds with straight combinations that completely stalled the attacks of Beterbiev.

The fight heated up in the fifth as Beterbiev worked the body late and may have stolen the round as he roughed up Gvozdyk in the final moments on the inside with four heavy hooks.

Beterbiev was gaining confidence he pushed the attack early in round six and looked to be on a roll but Gvozdyk found his mark with heavy shot that pierced IBF champs guard.

The pro Gvozdyk crowd urged him on in the seventh round and he answered every Beterbiev shot with heavier return fire.

Gvozdyk’s right hand was landing more regularly in the eighth. Beterbiev tried to rough him up, which forced referee Gary Rosato to give him a stern warning.

Beterbiev regained his composure in the ninth and battered Gvozdyk around the ring with three and four punch combos, A short right uppercut appeared to stun Gvozdyk.

The heavy shots continued in the tenth and Gvozdyk was withering, Beterbiev exploded, dropping the Ukrainian with two right hands that forced him to take a knee. He rose to his feet, but Beterbiev would not let him recover and deposited Gvozdyk back to the canvas. Gvozdyk was clearly hurt and a series of shots from Beterbiev crumpled him to the canvas for the third and final time. Referee Gary Rosato immediately grabbed him and waved off the fight off at the 2:49 mark of the tenth round.

It was a great fight that lived up to expectations.

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    • I disagree. Bivol is a way better boxer than either of these 2. I’m not saying Biev can’t win. It would be another great fight hard to predict. Bivol will be able to pivot off his punches whick Dyk is not capable of doing. He will also do more body work which could take the sting out of Biev’s punches.

    • Yes and Bivol would be knocked out in less than 10 rounds because his punches wouldn’t do anything to Beterbiev !! Gvodzyk punches hard and has a very good chin and was beaten.. Beterbiev would knock the cheat out of Canelo !!!

    • The judges will not be able to help Oscar and Canelo if they fight Beterbiev. Of course that would never happen in a million years. Beterbiev isn’t shot with a weak body. There is absolutely nothing Canelo would be able to do with this crazy Chechen. Beterbiev would have knocked out Ward even with Tony Weeks as the ref. He is one of the greatest light heavyweights in the history of the division and only has 15 fights.

      • One of the greatest Light Heavyweights in the history of the division? He has average defense, doesn’t do all that well from the outside, and is 34 years old. Tough guy, good puncher, but that is a great exaggeration to call him the GOAT in this division. You might want to take a look at some Michael Spinks fights as a Light Heavyweight.

          • Even a prime Virgil Hill would have given Beterbiev trouble. Safety-first style, and constantly moving. He certainly would have won many rounds. Beterbiev will be fun to watch though.

          • They both would’ve shit their pants because neither were able to take this kind of raw power on their chins ! And Jones was only playing with less skilled fighter and Foster didn’t beat any big name in his carreer.

        • There you CNN reporters go again with your fake news stories. It’s really interesting that you make such a dumb post since readers can go up to my post and see that I never said that he was the GOAT. I think you need to take your Ritalin again because it’s causing you to read too fast and miss important words, like ONE of the greatest light heavyweights. I guess it’s difficult for people like you to get even elementary school educated to learn to be able to read, when you simply have been going to indoctrination camps your entire life, and participation trophies for everything.

          • Ok then, what’s he done to be considered ONE of the greatest in this division? What other great fighters has he beaten? WAY to soon to put him up there with the best ever.

    • Beterbiev won’t need judges in that fight. Oscar himself will jump in the ring to stop that beating…

  • This was definitely a case of a relaxed, composed, confident fighter beating someone who was too worked up and over thinking. Gvozdyk had the skills to win and when he let his combinations go, he was very successful but his nervous state shortened his breathing and drained his energy. I think Teddy Atlas has to take some of the blame for this. He gets fired up and puts extra pressure on his fighters. This is sometimes necessary but sometimes it is counterproductive as it seemed to be in this fight.

    • I did think that Gvozdyk was a little tense for the first few rounds but he started to warm up. I have to give the Chechen credit because he found a key to finish do Ukrainian and it was the body work. I don’t think it was as much of a case is Gvozdyk beating himself, as much as it was that he couldn’t take what Beterbiev was dishing out while the Chechen was able to take when he dished out. Both guys were primed and ready for tonight and The Best Man won. I was actually rooting for the Ukrainian and Vegas money had him slightly favored, so I hope nobody downplays Beterbiev’s win tonight by slacking off on the nail. Gvozdyk did not have to take this fight and is still a great world class fighter who got beaten by a better fighter in his absolute prime. You have to hand it to these Eastern European and Western Asian fighters from the former Soviet Union. They are better overall fighters than North American fighters and prove it with their constant level of opposition and performance in those fights.

      • I was a little worried after seeing Callum Johnson fight, but after his performance against Kalajdzic I knew he would beat Gvozdyk.

  • Fugg, I was pulling for the Ukrainian but Beterbiev is an indestructible beast. Both fighters exhibited elite level offense and boxing skill, but once the Russian went to the nails body it started the beginning of the end. If Gvozdyk’s hooks were as hard as his straight right hand, I think it would have been him who stopped Beterbiev tonight. Beterbiev is a fighter who knows how to get in the perfect mid-range and fire paralyzing short compact power shots. Somewhere in that fight you started finding the ukrainians body and discovered that he couldn’t take it there. It was definitely the best fight of 2019 so far, and the winner definitely deserved pound-for-pound honors tonight. I definitely have Beterbiev in top 10 and will have to analyze the current crop to see where I put him there. His win tonight meant something big for the entire sport, and I don’t think anybody can beat him at 175 if he fights like he did tonight. He would absolutely knock the winner of the November 2nd fight out clean, without question.

  • Beterbiev was just too strong and punched too hard for Gvozdyk. His body punches were devastating and Gvozdyk just wore down and was trying to survive in the last two rounds. Gvozdyk was making a fight of it in the first 6 rounds but the end looked inevitable after the 6th. Beterviev was walking through everything Gvozdyk threw, used grappling tactics and elbows whenever he could and just roughed up Gvozdyk throughout the fight.

    Beterbiev looks unstoppable in the light heavyweight ranks. He can take a great punch and comes back with his own heavy shots. Bivol may have a chance, but Beterbiev is a bigger man and hits too hard to predict a Bivol win if they ever do meet.

    If Beterbiev continues to train and dedicate himself to the sport, he will have the advantage over any other light heavyweight out there. He admitted that his dedication to training has not always been where it should be, but he was sure in great shape for this fight. I just don’t see anyone beating him at this point.

    • Good synopsis AP. I said whoever wins tonight’s fight is the man at light heavyweight and his name is Artur Beterbiev.

  • Water vs rock…it seems most thought The Nail was the water, but it was Beterbiev. He just rounded off the rough edges of The Nail.

    I would much rather see Beterbiev fight Kovalev than Canelo. He wants to be THE Champion and you gotta love that.

    Bivol might be the best boxer of the Division, but he probably should be fighting at 168. Beterbiev would break through his skills.

  • Betrrbiev I’ve been watching you for like 10 years or more and you only have 15 fights?! I remember when I first saw you I was like, “ This guy is a killer!” But you never took on the world! You’ve been moved along with kid gloves

  • Great fight, 2 class guys, I question whether Gvozdyk was ahead at time of stoppage. Based on Beterbiev’s last 2 fights I felt Gvozdyk would win. I was wrong, although similar amounts of fights, Beterbiev was more seasoned, Gvozdyk would have benefited with 4 or 5 more fights before this challenge, great fight!

    • Gvozdyk was up on two of the judges scorecards at the time of the stoppage. I agree that the nail needs more seasoning.

  • Great fight! 2 of the top LWHs going hard at it, what more can you ask for?

    Gvozdyk looked technically better/more effective early on, but Beterbiev’s pressure and attack paid off. After around the mid point you could see Gvozdyk was tiring/weakening. Beterbiev continued to step up the pressure to grind him down, the last 2 rounds you could see the fight drain out of a battered Gvozdyk, in the 10th he was relentlessly beaten to a standstill.

    I love Beterbiev’s aggressive and explosive style, tonight he looked really good, but Callum Johnson put him down with a perfect left hook and had him a bit of trouble, so we know he’s not unbeatable, saying that I find it hard to pick another LHW who I think would beat him.

    Be great to see Beterbiev in there with Bivol, and then the winner to fight Kov/Canelo winner to see who’s the best LHW

  • I question his management…why was it necessary to fight Beterbiev so soon, he just won the title!?

  • Hard to believe Beterbiev wasn’t leading on the judges card… He was in control from the bell, applying pressure, landed the most shots, etc.

    • That’s how I saw it. This is pro boxing not amateur. Gvozdyk had his success in the fight but for most of it he was like a deer in headlights. Impressive win for Beterbiev, I had Gvozdyk as a slight favorite.

  • So interesting how everyone now jumps on Beterbiev as the best in the division. Since he’s had the title, analysts have repeatedly said he was the lesser champion of the four. He hadn’t fought anyone with a big name to prove himself simply because no one wanted a taste of his skills. Applause to Gvozdyk for taking the chance. Hopefully now people will give Artur the respect he deserves!

  • Great fight. Biev has some of the most raw power I’ve ever seen. Funny how a lot of these comments keep referring to Canelo. This has nothing to do with him. Those who think he’ll be able to do this to Bivol may have to eat their words.

  • Very good tough fight by two real fighters.These men decided that there needs to be clarity in this sport, and rather then take 10 years to let it marinate and pull a Floyd/Pac SNOREFEST, they decided that a division needs one champion, both men are to be commended for this clarity. This fight pitted a better boxer against a man that in some ways is like Big George. Anywhere he hits you he hurts you, he has those heavy hands, but make no mistake about it The NAIL came to work, and at times he was actually hurting Beterbiev in many of the exchanges. I see they had the NAIL ahead at the time of the stoppage, i would not disagree with that even though I saw the tide turning with The NAIL starting to run out of gas from the hammering of Beterbiev. A couple of points,1st the Philly commission showed they’re not a bunch of fools, Greg Serb, made sure that the ridiculous knockdown, in the 1st, was over ruled as a push/trip. This was extremely important, so as to not start the fight with any controversy. 2nd , again Arum shows why he still after 50 + years, puts on the best fights. 3rd Beterbiev is a heavy handed monster no doubt, he needs refinement, but at this point he seems to be the heir apparent in the lgt hwt division. And if nothing else, he can bring clarity to this sport because it damn well needs it. The next problem, if Kovalev does not K.O Canela we all know the fishnet will make another STINK with his phony decisions. This guy FORGOT what it means to be an honorable fighter, just once OSCAR be a promoter that does not have to buy all the judges!!!!! And last but not least. CANELACOTT the P.P.V, tell them we’re tired of their PHONY decisions, and we’re not BUYING their WWE stories. This will hurt them right where they need to be hurt in the pocket.

  • Gvozdyk was great, he was forced to fight and was out punching Beterbiev, just to keep him off of him. Beterbiev kept coming and although Gvoxdyk has decent power he wasn’t phased at all and finally worn him down by those right hooks to the body. Beautiful fight and its a shame someone had to lose.

  • OMG people on here ranting now about Canelo.. he is not a LHW guys, c’mon!!!!!. He WOULD NEVER fight BIEV… he would get seriously hurt.. Hes only fighting KOV for a chance to make history (which I still cant see him beating even a drained KOV. Still too much power). I don’t think he can even handle the elite at supermiddle much less LHW. But anyway, back to where the conversation shld be….Great job Biev for taking control of the LHW division. Looking forward to seeing who his next victim is.

  • Certainly Berbetiev’s greatest win, and not because this was a unification fight, but because Gvozdyk was the best boxer he ever beat. Gvozdyk became champion because he beat Stevenson really in his declining years. I think people are putting too much into this win to make Berbetiev this ‘unbeatable’ fighting machine. I do think he would beat Kovalev, who is also declining, but Bivol I think is probably a better boxer than Gvozdyk is. For the first round and a half of last nights fight, Berbetiev looked like he would be embarrassed and exposed, don’t for get until a few months ago he was considered the weakest of the four light heavyweight champs. Since they only fought within a week of each other, lets hope that we can see a Berbetiev-Bivol matchup.

  • That’s exactly what i expected ! I knew Gvodzyk was the best fighter and that the key in the fight was : can Gvodzyk handle Beterbiev’s pressure and power.. And the answer is no !!

  • After the first round of the fight, knowing what had happened to Kaladjzic, I was certain it was a matter of time Gvodzyk would need to stand and fight. In that case, he was going to need immense heart and chin than Kaladjzic had against Beterbiev to have any chance. Great fight though.

  • Might be a challenge to bring Ward back. One tune up and then this ,,,,,Beterbiev. His style is somewhat reminisce of Marciano. The Russian Rock!

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