Boxing’s oldest and longest reigning champion promises to match the hunger of another determined challenger this Saturday on Showtime.
In the five years since Adonis Stevenson captured the WBC light heavyweight title, there have been nine other belt-holders at one time or another in the division. Boxing’s longest-reigning champion has outlasted most of his contemporaries and, at 41, isn’t ready to walk away just yet.
This Saturday night he will make the 10th defense of his title when he meets unbeaten mandatory challenger Oleksandr Gvozdyk on a Showtime-televised card (7:45 p.m. ET/ 4:45 p.m. PT) from Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada.
Stevenson, 29-1-1 (24 KOs), hopes to end a roller coaster 2018 on a high note. In May, he battled through a grueling, toe-to-toe, 12-round battle with Badou Jack. The champion jumped out to an early lead, but Jack rallied in the middle rounds to pull even. With the outcome hanging in the balance, the momentum oscillated in the championship rounds. Fans at the Air Canada Centre stood on the feet as the combatants traded power punches to close out a thrilling Fight of the Year-type bout.
In the end, Stevenson retained his light heavyweight title via majority draw.
“I showed that I’m still ‘Superman’ and I’m still here,” Stevenson said. “I’ll fight anybody younger than me. I honestly feel as if I won the fight, and I’ll do it again if he wants to.
“Everybody thought Badou Jack would out-box me, but I showed that I’m in great shape, mentally and physically, and that I still have the boxing skills. I felt like I out-boxed him.”
Life outside the ring couldn’t be better. On November 6, Stevenson experienced the birth of his fifth child and fourth daughter, Adonia.
“She’s beautiful and very cute,” he said. “She was born healthy, weighing seven pounds and one ounce. So, she’s doing well, and my wife is doing well. They’re both champions. I’m very happy. She’s a definite inspiration to me, just like all my children are.”
Now, the boxer known as “Superman” meets the hard-hitting Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs) in a bout that promises to produce fireworks. Most of his title defenses have been that way—yet no one has been able to dethrone him. Stevenson is 16-0-1 with 14 KOs since his lone loss in April 2010, a second-round stoppage to Darnell Boone which he avenged by sixth-round KO in March 2013.
Gvozdyk, however, presents an entirely different set of challenges. Nicknamed “The Nail,” the 31-year-old slugger won bronze for the Ukraine at the 2012 Olympics. At 6-foot-2, he’s three inches taller than Stevenson, and has stopped his last eight opponents. In other words, this fight isn’t likely to last the distance.
“I have been waiting for this title shot for a very long time, and I will take full advantage of the opportunity,” said Gvozdyk. “It doesn't matter where we fight. I am fully prepared to become the new WBC light heavyweight champion. Canada, 'The Nail' is coming to put on a show!”
Such talk is nothing new to Stevenson, who is 9-0-1 with seven KOs in championship bouts, including his title-winning, 76-second stoppage of Chad Dawson in June 2013. He’ll look to add another victory versus the dangerous Ukrainian.
“You have to remember that I was taught by the great (late Hall of Fame) trainer Emanuel Steward out of the Kronk Gym, and I still have that hunger, even at 41,” Stevenson said.
“I've been pushing myself in training to be ready to put on a great performance December 1 and defend my title once again," he continued. "My old trainer, the late great Emanuel Steward, used to tell me that 'knockouts sell' and that's what I'm going for in this fight. I know I'm facing a good boxer who's coming in very determined. He'll be ready, but it won't be enough. It's going to be show time on SHOWTIME and another victory for 'Superman'.”
For a closer look at Stevenson vs Gvozdyk, check out our fight page.