Last Friday in Philadelphia, Artur Beterbiev became the first boxer in Quebec to unify world titles when he stopped Oleksandr Gvozdyk in the tenth round to join the WBC, IBF light heavyweight titles.
Beterbiev remains humble in victory. He will now celebrate this new belt with his relatives in Russia. Although several names have already begun to circulate, the new unified champion will make a mandatory defense of his IBF title against mandatory challenger Fanlong Meng of China early next year.
"In general, I'm happy with what I accomplished with my team. I finished my fight after 10 rounds, but I feel like I'm only getting started. I'm not tired," said Beterbiev to RDS.
On the other hand the performance of the referee, Gary Rosato displeased head trainer Marc Ramsay. The many interventions of the official had damaged Beterbiev's game plan.
"I found the officiating was pretty poor. On a regular basis, Artur was able to get inside and had a free hand. But the referee separated the action quickly and prevented us from working at close range. It pissed us off during the fight," said Ramsay.
In addition, two of the three judges had Gvozdyk ahead on points at the moment when he was knocked out in the tenth.
"During the fight, I felt like I was winning it. When I heard [the scores], you can be sure that I was a little surprised, but I won and that's all that matters," Beterbiev said.
And his trainer noted:
"We felt that the fight was close. Even at a certain point, I told Artur that he had to secure the rounds to have a chance to win. In the 9th, he gave a right to the body and you can hear that Gvozdyk was gasping. When he returned to the corner, I told Artur to finish his opponent," said Ramsay.
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org