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Adonis Stevenson faces Oleksandr Gvozdyk on Dec.1

Adonis Stevenson Carlos Ocampo Oleksandr


By Tim Royner: World Boxing Council president Mauricio Sulaiman says WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis ‘Superman’ Stevenson will be defending his title against interim WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk on December 1. This will be the first mandatory defense for the 40-year-old Stevenson in five years since his defense against Tony Bellew in 2013.

The WBC let Stevenson steer around his previous mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez by giving him a step aside fee. It’s unclear if Stevenson attempted to offer Gvozdyk, 31, a step aside fee to get him out of the way temporarily so that he can make arguably easier title defenses.

”The fight will take place in Montreal on December 1st,” Sulaiman said on his social media site.

It’s too bad the Stevenson-Gvozdyk fight can’t take place earlier than December, because both guys will have been out of the ring for a considerable amount of time by the time they face each other in December, if they face each other. A lot of boxing fans will just be happy to see Stevenson finally defend against an obligatory challenger instead of swerving them.

It’s still not official that Stevenson will be defending against Gvozdyk. We’ll have to wait until Gvozdyk’s management at Top Rank confirms the December 1 date. They obviously want him to face Stevenson. There will likely be contentious negotiations due to Stevenson fighting on Showtime and Gvozdyk on ESPN. It’s likely the fight will go to a purse bid. It’s unclear whether the Stevenson vs. Gvozdyk will be televised on both ESPN and Showtime or on only one of the networks. Top Rank isn’t going to give up and back out of letting Gvozdyk take the fight with Stevenson just because it might wind up being televised on Showtime.

It’s a bad match-up for Gvozdyk. He’s a good fighter, but he’s shown to have a chin problem in the past. The southpaw Stevenson can really punch and he’s got the talent still to make quick work of Gvozdyk, who has never fought an A-level fighter during his career as a pro. The closest thing that Gvozdyk has come to fighing an A-level fighter is when he fought an injured Isaac Chilemba, who fought him with a broken hand in November 2016. Aside from that fight, Gvozdyk’s best opponents have been these guys: Yunieski Gonzalez, Tommy Karpency, Craig Baker, Mehdi Amar, Otis Griffin and Madjib Mohammedi.

Gvozdyk won a bronze medal for Ukraine in the 2012 Olympics in London, England. Gvozdyk beat several obscure fighters from Belarus, Nicaragua and Algeria before losing in the semifinal to Adilbek Niyazymbetov of Kazakhstan. It wasn’t a surprise that Gvozdyk lost to Niyazymbetov, because that’s a guy that was always going to give him trouble due to his high degree of talent.

Stevenson is coming off of a 12 round majority draw against former two division world champion Badou Jack on May 19 in Toronto, Canada. Stevenson appeared to win the fight by a couple of rounds, but the judges felt that it was too close of a fight to give to Stevenson. A rematch between Stevenson and Jack will likely be taking place at some point if Stevenson gets past Gvozdyk. Stevenson would be facing Jack next if not for the WBC having him defend against Gvozdyk.

Top Rank wants to turn Gvozdyk into a world champion and match him up against the other light heavyweight belt holders in the division. However, they’re matching him against the wrong guy in Stevenson. This guy is too advanced for a fighter like Gvozdyk, who was shaken up in the 11th round of his last fight by Mehdi Amar last March. That was one of the few hard shots that the 36-year-old Amar landed in the fight. Stevenson punches with incredible power with each shot he throws. For Gvozdyk to have a chance of beating Stevenson, he’s going to have to walk through a ton of big shots in the first eight rounds in order to have a chance of wearing him down in the same way that Jack did. Jack took a boatload of punishing blows from Stevenson in order to take him deep into the fight. Even when Jack did take Stevenson into the second half of the fight, he was still getting worked over by him.

Carlos Ocampo fights Jesus Rojas this Saturday

Fresh off his 1st round knockout loss to International Boxing Federation welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. on June 16, former IBF #1 ranked Carlos Ocampo (22-1, 13 KOs) will be fighting this Saturday night on August 18 against journeyman Jesus Rojas (11-4-2, 10 Kos) in a 10 round fight at the Club Britannia in Chihuahua, Mexico This is the type of opposition the 22-year-old Ocampo has shown that he can beat during his six-year pro career. Unfortunately, Ocampo is returning to fighting journeymen level opposition instead of fighting better opponents.

Ocampo didn’t show much talent in his loss to Spence. In fact, Ocampo looked completely over-matched against Spence, and had the look of someone who didn’t belong in the top 15. Sadly, the IBF hasn’t learned their lesson in giving the limited looking Ocampo a high ranking, as he’s currently rated #3 IBF, which means he’ll soon be back at No.1 if he can put together two or three wins against likely journeymen level opponents. It’s highly doubtful that Ocampo’s management will put him in against a talented top contender in the IBF’s rankings, because he would likely lose badly. Ideally, the IBF needs to have Ocampo prove himself next time before they give him a number one ranking. If the IBF can order Ocampo to fight someone like Jessie Vargas, Kerman Lejarraga or Yordenis Ugas, it would give him a chance to prove that he deserves to be rated number one instead of having it given to him by the sanctioning body like they did last time. The IBF rated Ocampo at number 1 previously after he beat these fighters: Alvaro Robles, Daniel Echeverria and Dario Ferman. Those are all journeyman level fighters.

Ocampo vs. Rojas will be fighting on the undercard of the WBA female minimumweight championship between champ Anabel “Avispa” Ortiz and Yenifer “Negrita” Leon (9-0, 6 KOs).

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