By Daniel Gonzalez
Philadelphia, PA – In his first world title defense, WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvodzyk (17-0, 14 KOs) was awarded a technical knockout at :58 of the 5th round after challenger Doudou Ngumbu (38-9, 14 KOs) suffered an Achilles’ tendon injury and was not able to continue. Prior to the stoppage, the 38 year old Congo native, who appeared to be much smaller than Gvodzyk was competitive in the fight. The champion had difficulty adjusting to Ngumbu’s unorthodox fighting style in the first part of the fight, despite being a huge favorite coming into the bout, but seemed to be in control before referee Eric Dali called the fight.
The 2012 Ukrainian Olympian, who became the light heavyweight lineal champion after his brutal 11th round knockout over Adonis Stevenson in Quebec City in December of 2018, made it clear what is his future plans are by stating in his post fight interview, “My goal is to unify titles.” Currently, the light heavyweight division is one of deepest divisions in the sport of boxing. All of the current world titles holders are excellent fighters, which would make any unification clash a great one.
Gvodzyk is actually the only non-Russian titlist in the division. Russian fighters Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) is the WBA title holder, while Arthur Beterbiev (13-0, 13 KOs) holds the IBF title, and Dimitry Bivol (15-0, 11 KOs) the WBO title. Matchups with any of these fighters is definitely something the boxing world will be looking forward to seeing. Also in the mix at the top of the division are Marcus Browne (23-0, 16 KOs) and more recently WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (39-0, 25 KOs) announced that the he would like to campaign in the light heavyweight division.
Unfortunately, due to the way that the fight ended with Ngumbu, those watching on ESPN and at the 2300 Arena were not able to see Gvodzyk shine. After looking brilliant in his first fight with trainer Teddy Atlas against Stevenson, Gvodzyk was unable to get it going against the awkward Ngumbu in their second fight. Teddy Atlas, who had previously retired from boxing due to his disatisfaction with the business end of it, indicated that he is happy to working with Gvodzyk, as he believes that he is a special talent.
There is no questions that Gvodzyk will likely be eying the result of the next big fight in the light heavweight division on May 4th, between Artur Beterbiev and Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic (24-1, 17 KOs) at the Stockton Arena in Stockton , California.
Although the younger generation of light heavyweights are trying to takeover, Sergey Kovalev continues to be the biggest name in the division since Andre Ward’s retirement. I have to be honest, at this moment I cannot decide who I think is the best light heavyweight in the world. That is exactly why this division is one of the most compelling for me.
Daniel Gonzalez is a Senior Boxing Writer. Dan writes for many publications including Boxing Action Magazine, www.BoxingAction24.com and www.SideStepBoxing.com
Photo courtesy of Top Rank