WBC orders Adonis Stevenson vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
By Jim Dower: WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis ‘Superman’ Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) has been ordered by the World Boxing Council to defend against his number 1 contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs). Stevenson, 40, had been hoping to face Badou Jack in a rematch after fighting to a 12 round draw against him on May 19.
The WBC isn’t going to allow Stevenson to take the rematch right away, as they want him to make his first mandatory defense since his win over Tony Bellew five years ago in 2013. It’s surprising that Stevenson hasn’t been stripped of his title by the WBC for failing to defend the title for 4 ½ years.
It just shows how inept the WBC has been in monitoring what’s going on with Stevenson, as they should have forced him to defend a long time. In contrast, the WBC has been all over former WBC bantamweight champion Luis Nery in suspending him for coming in overweight for his rematch against Shinsuke Yamanaka on February 28. The WBC acted quickly on Nery’s situation, and yet let Stevenson go 4 ½ years since his last defense of his title. It’s unbelievable.
Gvozdyk is the interim WBC 175lb champion. A purse bid is scheduled for next month for the Stevenson vs. Gvozdyk fight on July 2.
“We’d like the fight to happen sooner rather than later,” Top Rank president Carl Moretti said to ESPN.com. “Whatever happens at the purse bid, if we don’t make a deal, will dictate when and where the fight happens.”
The WBC is might need to push the issue in case Stevenson chooses to drag his feet in making the defense against Gvozdyk. If history is any guide, Stevenson will look to offer Gvozdyk a step aside fee so he can delay his mandatory, again. Stevenson has defended his WBC title nine times since winning the belt in 2013 after stopping Chad Dawson in the 1st round.
A rematch between Stevenson and Jack will take place eventually. There’s too much interest in tha fight from the boxing public. Even if Stevenson loses to Gvozdyk, the fans are still going to want to see Adonis face Jack again. Gvozdyk is unlikely to beat Stevenson though because Gvozdyk’s punch resistance isn’t what it needs to be for him to win that fight. The southpaw Stevenson hits too hard, and he’s going to be all over Gvozdyk when that fight takes place.
Gvozdyk didn’t look so great recently in beating Mehdi Amar last March. Amar hurt Gvozdyk in the 11th round with a big right to the head. If Amar had fought aggressively in the earlier rounds, he might have knocked Gvozdyk out.