PHILADELPHIA — There had never been a light heavyweight world title unification fight between undefeated titleholders until Artur Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk squared off on Friday night, and when it was over it was the powerful Beterbiev who had scored three knockdowns in the 10th round for the knockout victory.
It had been a close, competitive and exciting fight, but Beterbiev steadily broke Gvozdyk down to unify two 175-pound title belts in the main event of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN card at Temple University’s Liacouras Center.
Coming into the fight it was a true toss-up bout with few around the fight game having a true feeling for who would win, not to mention odds that made Beterbiev a very slight favorite. But in the end, he scored a convincing victory.
The fight was a rematch of sorts with Beterbiev beating Gvozdyk again. During their storied amateur careers they met at a tournament in 2009 and Beterbiev, a two-time Russian Olympian who fights out of Montreal, stopped Gvozdyk, a 2012 Ukrainian Olympic bronze medalist fighting out of Oxnard, California, in the second round.
It took him longer to stop Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) this time but there was no doubt as Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) wore him out with a steady diet of hard right hands.
At the time of the stoppage judge John McKaie had Gvozdyk ahead 87-84, Ron McNair had him up 86-85 and John Poturaj had Beterbiev leading 87-83. ESPN had Beterbiev ahead 86-85 at the time of the knockout.