WBO Light Heavyweight Mandatory Request by Top Rank

WBO received this request by email:

Dear President Valcarcel,

On behalf of Top Rank and Oleksandr Gvozdyk, we respectfully request that the WBO designate Mr. Gvozdyk, its current No. 1 ranked light heavyweight, as the mandatory challenger for the light heavyweight world title.

We are copying Mr. Gvozdyk’s manager Egis Klimas on the message to confirm.

Very truly yours,

Bob Arum

Photos: Oleksandr Gvozdyk-Craig Baker

By Keith Idec, photos by Mikey Williams

It took Oleksandr Gvozdyk five-plus rounds to do something significant Saturday night.

Once he got going, though, the unbeaten light heavyweight contender clobbered Craig Baker in the manner their resumes suggested he would. Gvozdyk dropped Baker and stopped him in the sixth round of a scheduled 10-round fight at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.

ESPN broadcast Gvozdyk’s victory as the co-featured fight before undefeated champions Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo went at it in a full super lightweight championship unification match.

Ukraine’s Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KOs) was winning through five rounds, but still got off to a slow start against an opponent he was expected to knock out.

He backed up Baker (17-2, 13 KOs) with a right hand with just over 1:20 to go in the sixth round and dropped him several seconds later with a right hand to the side of the head.

Baker got up, but Gvozdyk attacked him near the ropes, unloaded several unanswered punches and referee Celestino Ruiz stopped the bout at 2:04 of the sixth round.

Baker, 34, was knocked out for the second time in his past three fights. The Baytown, Texas, native was stopped in the third round of his May 2015 fight against by onetime super middleweight contender Edwin Rodriguez (29-2, 20 KOs).

Before Saturday night, Baker hadn’t fought since scoring a mild upset of Australian prospect Steve Lovett in June 2016. Baker got up from a fourth-round knockdown during that bout to knock out Lovett (15-2, 12 KOs, 1 NC) in the eighth round.

Gvozdyk’s advantages in skill, speed and power appeared evident early against Baker, but he looked lethargic through the first five rounds. There wasn’t much snap on his punches and he wasn’t aggressive.

Baker managed to land some right hands, but his punches didn’t seem to have much effect on his unbeaten opponent. Gvozdyk still was cautious for much of their fight before finally hurting Baker in the sixth round.

www.boxingscene.com/photos-oleksandr-gvozdyk-mike-alvarado-smash-opponents–119662?print_friendly=1

Lomachenko, Usyk and Gvozdyk Workout

arum-loma-596x400 Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank –

Undefeated champions and 2012 Ukrainian Olympic medalists Vasyl Lomachenko, Oleksandr Usyk and Oleksandr Gvozdyk hosted a media workout at World Boxing Gymnasium in Oxnard, Calif. on Tuesday. All three are in deep training for their title defenses, which will take place Saturday, April 8, at The Theater at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD.

Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs) will be defending his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight world title against former World Boxing Association (WBA) super featherweight world champion Jason “El Canito” Sosa (20-1-4, 15 KOs). 2012 Olympic gold medalist Usyk (11-0, 10 KOs) will be defending his WBO cruiserweight world title against Top-10 contender Mike Hunter (12-0, 8 KOs). 2012 Olympic bronze medalist Gvozdyk (12-0, 10 KOs) will be defending his NABF light heavyweight title against Yuniesky Gonzalez (18-2, 14 KOs). 

Vasyl Lomachenko: “Jason Sosa is very strong, is motivated, wants to win and he can fight all of the twelve rounds. It will be a hard fight. That I know.

“My top 3 pound for pound list is GGG, Kovalev and Crawford. I don’t want to be number one until I deserve it. That means fighting and winning against two or three world champions. After that I may be Number One but for sure not now.

“I like the weight division I am in. I have no problems making weight. I am not that anxious to leave my division and not sure I will ever fight at 140. It’s hard to look ahead but right now I am comfortable in my division where I have plenty of champions to fight against.”

Oleksandr Gvozdyk: “I am going into a serious fight against Yuniesky Gonzalez. He is strong, experienced, puts pressure on you, tries to drive you into the ropes. He’s a tough guy and I have to deal with him. I work hard every single day trying to be the best in my division.”

Alexsandr Usyk: “I have watched video of Michael Hunter and have a good idea of what he is all about. It’s going to be a great fight. As an amateur I was trained by the best – Anatoly Lomachenko – just look at who he has produced as great professional fighters.”

Lomachenko, Usyk and Gvozdyk were joined at their media workout by two-time Lithuanian Olympian “Mean Machine” Egidijus Kavaliauskas, who will be on the April 8 non-televised undercard in a six-round welterweight bout.

“Mean Machine” Egidijus Kavaliauskas: “I do get real mean the moment I leave the locker room, walk up the ring steps and get onto the canvas. And this is going to a big year for me. I am getting closer to my goal, a world title fight.”

The event has been sold out for weeks. Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Peltz Boxing Promotions, K2 Promotions, K2 Promotions Ukraine, Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing and Kiddar, the three title fights will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing, beginning at 10:00 p.m. ET/PT.

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