Artur Beterbiev scored a tenth round stoppage over Oleksandr Gvozdyk to unify the IBF and WBC light heavyweight titles in Friday’s main event in Philadelphia.
IBF titlist Beterbiev (15-0, 15 Kos) was simply tougher and stronger, finding a way to overcome the significant skillset of Ukraine’s Gvozdyk (17-1, 13 Kos), who displayed tremendous fortitude in absorbing hellacious shots to the body, before succumbing to the Russian’s ruthless assault.
Gvozdyk boxed well and got his own shots in but was clearly bothered and backed up constantly by his opponent’s relentless aggression.
An early knockdown in the opening round of Gvozdyk was rightly overturned after a review but it was a forecast of things to come.
Beterbiev did not seem to respect Gvozdyk’s power and simply walked through his best punches, to get in range to land his own.
Gvozdyk’s only chance of winning quickly devolved into staying off the ropes and trying to outbox Beterbiev in the centre of the ring but the steady pressure and body shots were wearing him down.
By the tenth round, Gvozdyk, 32, was completely exhausted and was dropped three times, prompting the referee to stop the carnage.
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 19, 2019
In the end, Beterbiev landed 161 of 515 (31%) of his total shots, and 113 of 283 (40%) power punches, compared to 118 of 614 (19%) total shots and 94 of 356 (27%) power punches for Gvozdyk.
Promoter Bob Arum confirmed Beterbiev will now face mandatory challenger Meng Fanlong next year.
Injured Collazo loses by Technical Decision to Abdukakhorov
Luis Collazo suffered an unfortunate injury to his left arm on route to a technical decision loss to Kudratillo Abdukakhorov in the co-feature.
Abdukakhorov won by scores of 99-91, 98-92 and 97-93.
In addition to the debilitating injury, the 38-year-old former world welterweight champion suffered multiple cuts and was essentially reduced to fighting with one arm from the start of sixth round through to the tenth.
Referee Benjy Esteves had finally seen enough and called an end to the bout at 2:03 of the scheduled final round after Abdukakhorov bizarrely tackled Collazo to the canvas.
Collazo (39-8, 20 Kos) struggled to get up and suffered an accidental head-butt during the fall which resulted in a deep cut over the right eye that bled profusely.
Adukakhorov started fast and controlled the early action with brilliant combinations. Collazo eventually got going though in the second round and connected with a power shot that clearly buzzed the Uzbekistan-native.
However, Collazo’s efforts were thwarted by an earlier cut suffered in the second round and he was being hit constantly.
Abdukakhorov was never able to take complete advantage of Collazo’s injury, instead attempting to keep a safe distance from his opponent’s heavier punches.
The loss snaps Collazo’s three fight winning streak and likely ends his prospect of facing WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in 2020.
Meanwhile Abdukakhorov (17-0, 9 Kos) remains mandatory challenger to IBF champion Errol Spence Jr. That fight is unlikely to happen anytime soon especially following Spence’s recent car accident.