Artur Beterbiev is the new unified light heavyweight champion of the world after a 10th round knockout of previously undefeated Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14) in the early hours of Saturday morning at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.
Beterbiev of Russia thus added to his own IBF title his rival’s WBC strap and 175 – pound Lineal championship belt while also improving his perfect fight record to 15 wins, all by way of knockouts.
Two of the three judges had Gvozdyk ahead prior to his knockout in round ten, with John McKaie (87-84) and Ron McNair (86-85)scoring the Ukrainian in front after nine rounds, while Beterbiev had the lead on John Poturaj’s scorecard, 87-83.
But all that didn’t matter in the end is as the knockout specialist from Russia, Beterbiev dropped his opponent 3 times in the tenth round forcing referee Gary Rosato to end the match at 2 minutes, 49 seconds on the clock.
It’s the second victory for Beterbiev against Gvozdyk with the first coming in 2009 during an amateur tournament.
32-year old Gvozdyk had won the WBC title from Adonis Stevenson with a brutal 11th round knockout last December. Stevenson underwent emergency brain surgery after that fight and was placed in a medically induced coma which the Canadian has now recovered from fully.
Three months later, Gvozdyk defeated Doudou Ngumbu of Congo via a 5th round TKO to retain the title.
On his part, Beterbiev stopped Enrico Koelling in the 12th round in November 2017 to win the IBF title, which was vacated by the retiring Andre Ward two months earlier following back to back victories over Sergey Kovalev.
Artur Beterbiev’s IBF mandatory against Meng Fanlong is due next, and according to promoter Bob Arum, the fight might be staged in China.
Dmitry Bivol (WBA) and Sergey Kovalev (WBO) are the other titlist in the division.