By Rick Reeno
MGM Grand, Las Vegas - 2012 Olympic bronze medal winner Oleksandr Gvozdyk (11-0, 9KOs) survived some adversity when he got off the floor in the first round to score a sixth round knockout of Tommy Karpency (26-6-1, 15KOs) to retain the NABF light heavyweight crown.
Karpency was very cautious in the early start, but let his hands go whenever Gvozdyk got close. In a stunning turn of events, an inside shot decked Gvozdyk on his back in the first round. He got up on unsteady legs but made it out of the round as Karpency didn't get wild and remained cautious while trying to finish him off.
They were trading shots in the second round, with Gvozdyk having a slight edge. Gvozdyk dominated the third round as Karpency threw little and stayed in a shell. In the fifth, Karpency was wearing down early and a bad cut opened up on his nose. Near the end of the round he let his hands go and stood toe to toe with Gvozdyk.
In the sixth, Karpency got decked with a hard shot to the body and went down for the full count.
Gvozdyk is being fast-tracked to a world title shot. In his last fight, on the Pacquiao-Bradley III undercard in April, he crushed Nadjib Mohammedi with a bruising knockout in two rounds. One fight earlier Mohammedi had challenged unified champion Sergey Kovalev, who won by knockout in three.
In 2014, Karpency had an upset decision win over former world champion Chad Dawson. He challenged WBC champion Adonis Stevenson last September and was knocked out in three rounds.
Olympic gold medal winner Ryota Murata (11-0, 8KOs) of Japan demolished George "Comanche Boy" Tahdooanippah in one round.
Murata dropped him with a hard shot to the body. Once Comanche Boy got to his feet, Murata pinned him in the corner and unloaded with numerous hard right hands to the head until the referee jumped in to save Comanche Boy from further damage.