By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – Oleksandr Gvozdyk wasn’t spectacular Saturday night, nothing resembling stablemate Vasyl Lomachenko.
There’s still no denying he took a significant step in his brief professional career by beating light heavyweight contender Isaac Chilemba. Gvozdyk methodically out-boxed Chilemba until the South African veteran couldn’t continue after nine rounds due to an arm injury on the Sergey Kovalev-Andre Ward undercard at T-Mobile Arena.
By then, Ukraine’s Gvozdyk (12-0, 10 KOs) had bloodied Chilemba’s nose and clearly was on his way to a convincing victory against an opponent who went 12 rounds with the hard-hitting Kovalev four months ago.
“Left jab, left hook, and the straight right to the body was very effective, and began to break him down,” said Gvozdyk, who’s 29 and turned pro in April 2014. “I only have 12 fights, but I had over 250 amateur fights, so I had a lot of experience coming into this fight.”
Brad Goodman, a tough-to-please veteran matchmaker for Bob Arum’s Top Rank Inc. (Gvozdyk’s promoter), was very impressed by Gvozdyk’s victory over a legitimate light heavyweight contender.
“A new star was born tonight,” Goodman said. “It’s a huge win for us.”
The 29-year-old Chilemba (24-5-2, 10 KOs) lost a third straight fight and was stopped for the first time in his 11-year pro career.
“I am devastated,” Chilemba said. “If I hadn’t hurt my right arm in the third round it would have been a completely different outcome. I was in an incredible amount of pain from the third round through the rest of the fight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.