In his Pay-Per-View debut on HBO's Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev undercard, undefeated light heavyweight prospect Oleksandr Gvozdyk managed to stop veteran challenger Isaac Chilemba after 8 rounds, with Chilemba quitting on his stool citing a right hand injury.
Fighting to defend his NABF light heavyweight title, Ukranian Gvozdyk (12-0, 10 KO), methodically picked apart the more experienced Chilemba with ease, landing hard jabs and thudding body shots at will. Chilemba was a huge step up from his previous competition, seeing as the challenger had just lasted an impressive 12 rounds against light heavyweight juggernaut Sergey Kovalev this past July. Gvozdyk started the fight off strong, and garnered control of the fight by the early rounds of the bout.
With the champion in control early, the bout leaned even more in his favor after the third round, in which Chilemba suffered an arm injury and was seemingly ineffective with his right hand for the rest of the fight. Chilemba said after that fight that he was "devastated", and that, sans injury, "it would have been a completely different outcome". Unfortunately for the South African native, it marks his third loss in a row, although each has been to a very talented fighter within the division. While it appears Chilemba is in line to become a gatekeeper, he still possesses enough skill and ring savvy to be troublesome for any rising prospects once his hand is fully healed.
Saturday night's showing from Gvozdyk was less than outstanding, however he managed to stop Chilemba, which had never been accomplished in his 11 years of fighting professionally, which adds a good amount of merit to this victory. The lackluster fight will not necessarily lead boxing fans to demand Gvozdyk appear on a pay-per-view telecast again anytime soon, however if the rising star continues to win convincingly against solid competition, he will be in line to face some of the division's elite in the very near future. The Ukranian showed plenty of punching power and a good amount of patience and boxing skill in his dismantling of Chilemba. With the NABF title in hand, look for Gvozdyk to get a mandatory shot for a major title as early as next year.
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