Ageing Stevenson has it all to do to retain lightheavyweight throne, writes Declan Taylor
Adonis Stevenson puts his WBC light-heavyweight title on the line
WITH MUCH of the boxing world’s focus on the Los Angeles showdown between Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury, what could be one of 2018’s most explosive battles has gone totally under the radar.
Some 5,000km north east of the Staples Center, Adonis Stevenson puts his WBC light-heavyweight title on the line against his mandatory challenger Oleksandr
“The Nail” Gvozdyk at Quebec’s Centre Videotron, live on Showtime in a December 1 bout which will act as a starter to the heavyweight battle.
And as far as boxing Hors d’oeuvre go, they don’t really get more appetising than two big-hitting, top-five lightheavyweights tangling for a major title.
Wilder might just be the biggest one-punch man in boxing today but neither Stevenson or Gvozdyk are far behind. They say power is the last thing to abandon an ageing fighter, which is why 41-year-old “Superman” Stevenson remains an important player at 175lbs.
But, in what will be his first bout since drawing with Badou Jack in May, Stevenson must quell an opponent who looks capable of emerging as the No. 1 in arguably the most exciting division in the sport right now.
Gvozdyk, 31, has marched to 15-0 with 12 quick, as a result of a patient, methodical style punctuated by dynamite in both hands. He is a fighter blessed with that frightening, casual power which he appears to generate without trying.
He joins the likes of Vasyl Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk as yet another world class Ukrainian currently managed by Egis Klimas, who put his fighter together with trainer Teddy Atlas. You would have struggled to find a more awkward first assignment than Stevenson, who knows how to stay out of trouble in his southpaw stance while whipping in horrible left hands over the top.
Sometimes, two big punchers like this can combine to cancel out each other’s power and, although a distance fight may seem unlikely here, it might just help wily old Stevenson if it is. The Quebec man, fighting on home soil, might know too much to allow Gvozdyk any opportunity to see him off. Stevenson will know defeat here might just spell the end of him so a decision win for the home favourite could be a smart bet.
MUST WIN: If Stevenson loses he might never reclaim his world title