Gvozdyk-Gonzalez and Usyk-Hunter on April 8
By Jim Dower: Unbeaten WBO cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk (11-0, 10 KOs) will be defending his title against unbeaten 2012 Olympian Michael Hunter (12-0, 8 KOs) on April 8 on the undercard of the Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jason Sosa at the Theater at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD. The fights will be on HBO Championship Boxing.
Also on the card is unbeaten #6 WBO, #6 WBC, #7 IBF light heavyweight contender Oleksandr Gvozyk (12-0, 10 KOs) facing Yunieski Gonzalez (18-2, 14 KOs) in a 10 round fight. All three of these fights – Lomachenko vs. Sosa, Usyk vs. Hunter and Gvozdyk vs. Gonzalez – will be televised on HBO Boxing. It should be a great televised card for the fans. It’s definitely be one of the best card on regular HBO that’s for sure.
The undercard matches involving 2012Ukrainian Olympians Usyk and Gvozyk might overshadow the main event between Lomachenko and Sosa. It’s going to be three good fights. Lomachenko is Ukrainian as well, and he’s a two-time Olympic gold medalist. Usyk won an Olympic gold medal for Ukraine in 2012.
Usyk has a tough fight on his hands against unbeaten #8 WBO Michael Hunter. Hunter took part in the 2012 Olympics but lost to Artur Beterbiev from Russia. Beterbiev turned pro as well and is considered one of the best contenders in the light heavyweight division.
The 28-year-old Hunter turned at cruiserweight, and he’s done really well in his first 12 fights since turning professional in 2013. Hunter recently beat undefeated Isiah Thomas by a 10 round unanimous decision last May. Thomas gave Murat Gassiev problems in their fight in December 2015 in a fight that was ruled a no contest due to Gassiev knocking Thomas out after the bell in the 3rd round. Thomas couldn’t continue, so the fight was stopped and scored as a no contest.
“Michael Hunter is a tough, undefeated opponent and I’m certain that this will be a great show for the fans in attendance and those watching on HBO,” said Usyk.
It would be impressive if Usyk beats Hunter, because the American fighter looks very good right now. Usyk will need to bring his A-game on April 8 to get past him. Usyk recently beat Thabiso Mchunu and Krzysztof Glowacki in his last two fights. Usyk stopped Mchunu in the 9th round in an impressive performance. There are not too many fighters in the cruiserweight division that can beat Glowacki, but Usyk did it fairly easily.
Yunieski Gonzalez has a two-fight winning streak going for him since losing to Vyacheslav Shabransky by a 10 round majority decision on December 19, 2015. It was a close fight. Gonzalez lost a controversial 10 round unanimous decision to Jean Pasal in July 2015. Recently, Gonzalez has won his last two contests on beating Maxwell Amponsah and Jackson Junior.
Gvozdyk is going to have a lot of problems with Gonzalez, because he’s got good punching power and he comes to fight. Gvozyk, 29, looked good in his last fight in beating Isaac Chilemba by an 8th round stoppage on November 19 last year. Chilemba suffered a broken hand and wasn’t able to continue fighting. In Gvozyk’s fight against former world title challenger Tommy Karpency in July of last year, Gvozyk was knocked down in round 1, and nailed with a lot of big shots in round 2. However, Gvozyk came on strong to stop Karpency in the 6th.
Gvozyk is going to need to ready to trade power shots with Gonzalez on April 8, because he’s going to because he’s going to be getting hit hard by the Cuban fighter.
The Lomachenko-Sosa fight card has a start time of 10 p.m. ET/PT on HBO Boxing. Lomachenko’s fight with Sosa was originally going to be a unification fight, but Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs) recently vacated his World Boxing Association World super featherweight title. Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) will have his WBO super featherweight title on the line for the fight.
It’s too bad Gvozdyk fights at 175 rather than cruiserweight, because it would be interesting to see him and Usyk fight each other. I don’t know if they ever would through because I think they’re friends with one another.