Two light heavyweights collided on Friday night in Philadelphia, and that scrap was seen as one of the ten most anticipated bouts of the year in boxing 2019.
After nine plus rounds, the bout seen as a pick em clarified itself and sent the winner, Artur Beterbiev, to another level of renown. The loser, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, gave a courageous account of himself, but it looked like a light heavyweight against a middleweight–this was a physical mismatch.
That’s why I declare that Beterbiev, age 34, won the weekend.
I had wondered aloud if he hadn’t slipped a half notch, and that could well provide the space for Gvozdyk to stay undefeated. No way…The winner after said that he hasn’t always dug training. But now, with two straps around his waist, he promised to be more diligent with his prep. That spells bad news for future foes….
And the rest of the NYF Squad…who did they see winning the weekend?
“I’m going “club” with my pick and saying Joseph “Blessed Hands” Adorno won the weekend,” said Abe Gonzalez. “Talk about making a statement in your home state, Adorno had great knockout which came from smart counter punching. Adorno is now 14-0 and giving the suits at Top Rank and ESPN a reason to place him a little higher on their future fight cards.”
“In a great fight between two A-list scrappers, Artur Beterbiev put the also undefeated Oleksandr Gvodzyk on the canvas three times before being awarded the TKO in the tenth,” said David Phillips. “This was a case of a guy we already knew was good proving HOW good. Gvodzyk didn’t exactly shame himself either, getting the best of many of the exchanges before Beterbiev’s power turned the tide. It’s not often you think a fight ending with a KO needs a rematch, but this is one of those times. For now though, the light heavyweight division belongs to Beterbiev, who is not only undefeated in 15 fights, but has ended them all early.”
“Artur Beterbiev (below, in Mikey Williams picture for Top Rank) won the weekend,” said Hamza Ahmed. “Friday night’s victory was the culmination of a long road travelled. Injuries, delays, fights falling through or not happening and promotional issues meant the Beast which burst onto the scene following beatdowns over Campillo and Cloud remained caged from public view. That was until Friday in Philly when finally, finally, Beterbiev became the man at light heavyweight outright following a sensational thriller vs the prime and undefeated Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Beterbiev may be 34 1/2 but he’s a bad bad man. The most impressive thing to me about him was the constant in ring adjustments he was making, eventually getting to the point where Gvozdyk had no answers left. King Artur is going to be very difficult to beat and it’s about time one of boxing’s best kept secrets has now been revealed.”
“Who won the weekend? “1. Tyson Fury: He had the entire arena wanting to take pics with him. That adds more to his exposure and U.S. fan support,” said Xavier Porter.
2. Beterbiev: Yes he won and unified the titles, but he also added more excitement to a division that has been boring compared to the others. His stalking and menacing style did no favors for Gvozdyk, who lacked power to keep him at bay. And with Gvozdyk putting Stevenson in the hospital after dishing out that punishment, that also played a factor in the several knees that he took to recoup from the many shots that Beterbiev began landing consistently. Honestly, Beterbiev better get better cause he too is beatable.
3. The Adorno Brothers: Both young men continue grow and learn, win their fights side by side, but also are honest in their personal performances. While everyone is praising them for their victories, they’re honest in saying/understanding that they have a lot more to learn and prove. Joseph scored a second round KO, but he recognizes that his speed, defense, and reaction must get better if he’s going to challenge the tops of the 135lb division, as well as Jeremy at 122 pounds who won a UD but was hit with shots he should not have been in position to get hit with.
Wanted to see more:
1. Top Rank: After his opponent bowed out after the first round, Sonny Conto should’ve gotten some air time to gain more exposure.
2. Top Rank: You had Loma, Teofimo, and Richard Commey all ringside; why didn’t they talk about the unification bout and what the future holds in place?
3. Top Rank: Same question for Usyk, Miller, and Fury
There was plenty of downtime to add in some interviews.
Good broadcast and good fight card. Going forward, hopefully they’ll invest in having Max Kellerman do the post fight coverage with the media.”
“The light heavyweight division won the weekend,” said Rachel McCarson. “It began with the WBSS and Usyk, but now we have some excitement around a division with big guys but still light enough to have some speed and quickness. Beterbiev had a great showing, dominating with his strength and consistent work. And then arguably boxing’s biggest star, Canelo, mixing things up even more… I’m excited to see how everything plays out in this weight class.”
Said Jeremy Herriges: “Artur Beterbiev’s performance against Oleksandr Gvozdyk gives him the win for the weekend. Leading up to the fight, Gvozdyk was the slight betting favorite. Everyone knew that Beterbiev was a phenomenal power puncher who can break opponents down, but he proved to be much more than that. He’s durable, patient, and a thinker. Beterbiev wisely invested to Gvozdyk’s body and didn’t panic when he lost early rounds. He was confident that all he needed was time and pressure. His amateur pedigree was phenomenal, so many didn’t give his boxing skills enough credit—me included. Beterbiev owns the light heavyweight division and is a force to be reckoned with. Don’t be surprised if his name starts appearing on pound-for-pound lists.”
And who won the weekend, Alden Chodash? “Artur Beterbiev is the easy pick this weekend, as he put on arguably the best showcase in the light-heavyweight division since Andre Ward stopped Sergey Kovalev in 2017. Beterbiev showed it all, systematically breaking down the man considered by many to be the best all-around 175-pound fighter. As a close runner-up, fans of the light-heavyweight division also came out as big winners this weekend as Beterbiev-Gvozdyk may have set in motion a series of unification bouts that have been waiting to happen. Now all we have to do is wait and see for the true 175-pound kingpin to emerge.”
“I think you’d have to say Beterbiev, said John Vena. “Whether for good reason or not, he has been under the radar for quite some time. If he is the best light heavyweight in the world or not, upsetting Gvozdyk put him on the map. The menacing Beterbiev proved that he is a strong and relentless guy. He really imposes his will on his opponents and I could see him beat Kovalev even if Kovalev beats Canelo, which is quite possible.”
“Beterbiev won the weekend,” said Tommy Rainone. “Proved once and for all that he is a relentless savage inside that ring and the man to beat in a stacked 175 pound division.”