On Saturday night at The Theater in New York's Madison Square Garden, Oleksandr Gvozdyk of Ukraine beat Mehdi Amar of France by way of a twelve round unanimous decision to become the WBC’s interim light heavyweight champion.
Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs) had knocked out his last eight opponents and 12 of his 14 overall by stoppage, but had to go the distance against Amar (34-6-2, 16 KOs), who was fighting for the first time in the U.S.
Amar was able to connect and had his moments, like a good counter that appeared to stun Gvozdyk during an exchange in the twelfth and final round. Gvozdyk's right eye was swelling up early on and seemed to be an issue for the rest of the fight.
Amar was never seriously hurt at any point of the fight and managed to take anything that came his way.
“He was very elusive with very good defense. He was running around and making it hard to catch him,” Gvozdyk said in the aftermath.
The win puts the undefeated fighter in line to face the full champion of the division, which is Adonis Stevenson of Canada.
Stevenson is scheduled to defend his title against former two division world champion Badou Jack on May 19th in a Showtime televised main event from Canada.
Gvozdyk will be looking to fight the winner of that contest next. He hopes that Jack will win - because he believes Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) will be a much tougher to get in the ring. Stevenson has not made a mandatory defense of his title since 2013, when he knocked out Tony Bellew.
Gvozdyk's promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, has promised to pressure the WBC to ensure that his boxer will face the winner of Stevenson-Jack this year.
“It’s a great feeling. I’m looking forward to fighting for the regular belt,” Gvozdyk stated. “In my next fight, I’m looking to fight the winner of Adonis-Stevenson-Badou Jack.”