Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk defends his WBC light heavyweight title for the first time against Doudou Ngumbu on March 30, 2019 at the 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the U.S.

“Fighting" Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs Doudou Ngumbu

Gvozdyk won the WBC and lineal light heavyweight title with a brutal knockout of longtime champion Adonis Stevenson in the latter’s home country of Canada. The 31 year old from Ukraine is a former bronze medalist at the 2012 Olympic games and also represented his country in the 2009 and 2011 World Amateur Boxing Championships.

He turned pro in 2014 after signing with Bob Arum’s Top Rank Boxing. After winning the NABF light heavyweight title over Nadjib Mohammedi, Gvozdyk scored stoppages Tom Karpency, Isaac Chilemba and Yunieski  Gonzalez. His March 2018 win over Mehdi Amar led to a title shot against Stevenson. Gvozdyk has a record of 16-0 with 13 knockouts. The champion stands 6-2 with a reach of 85 inches.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs Doudou Ngumbu Odds

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The 37-year old Ngumbu is 38-8 with 14 knockouts to his credit. The challenger is 5-11 tall and fights out of the orthodox stance. This will be Ngumbu’s first crack at a major world title. In 2017, he dropped a unanimous decision to Igor Mikhalkin in a bout for the minor IBO light heavyweight title. Ngumbu has fought mostly in France and this will only be his second fight on U.S. soil. In his first try, he lost via unanimous decision to Andrzej Fonfara in 2014.

In his last fight, Ngumbu scored an upset over the previously unbeaten Yoann Kongolo. Ngumbu has been a pro for a dozen years and has faced legitimate opposition. However, he is known as a fighter who has lost every big fight he has been into. The Congolese-born Frenchman has losses to Isaac Chilemba, Nadjib Mohammedi, Pawel Glazewski, Umar Salamov plus Mikhalkin (twice)  and Fonfara.

“Fighting" Who Wins?

Gvozdyk passed his biggest test to date with flying colors when he knocked out Adonis Stevenson and hurt him really bad (prayers for Superman’s continued recovery). Ngumbu isn’t on the same level as Stevenson, he’s not even close so this is a big step-down in level of opposition for the Ukrainian.

Gvozdyk is noted for his punching power and in this bout, he should have the clear edge over the pillow-fisted Ngumbu who only has a 37% knockout rate. Also, Ngumbu has losses to Mohammedi and Chilemba, both of whom were knocked out by Gvozdyk so that’s the difference in punching.

Ngumbu though is as tough as they come. He’s lost seven times but has been knocked out only once in his career. He may not have the kind of power the Gvozdyk has, but he can hang in there with the best of them. He isn’t just durable as he has decent boxing skills. He has a good jab and can put up good combinations when he’s in his element. The problem though is that he’s lost all his big fights and this one may not be any different.

The champion has the clear edge here with his punching power. He is also the bigger and younger fighter here so I don’t see how Gvozdyk loses this fight unless he gets caught by a big punch which his opponent doesn’t have. Gvozdyk can be wild at times and leave himself wide open but with his opponent soft fisted, I think the champion wins this fight without much of a problem. I’m picking Oleksandr Gvozdyk to beat a game Doudou Ngumbu by decision or late stoppage.

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“Fighting" Kudratillo Abdukakhorov vs Keita Obara

Abdukakhorov is unbeaten at 15-0 with 9 knockouts. He stands 5-9 ½ with an undisclosed reach while fighting at the orthodox stance. The 25 year old Uzbek based in Malaysia has picked up a handful of good wins in his three year career and these include victories over Charles Manyuchi and prospect Dmitry Mikhaylenko. He has been the WBC “silver” champion for a while and is ranked #3 by the WBC. But the IBF was first to offer him a break as he was slated to fight Jessie Vargas for the IBF welterweight title eliminator but after Vargas declined, the IBF looked elsewhere and picked Obara.

Kudratillo Abdukakhorov vs Keita Obara Odds

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Obara is a former world title challenger at super lightweight. But in that 2016  title challenge against Eduard Troyanovsky, he got blasted through the ropes in the second round before eventually getting stopped moments later. Obara is also infamous for a double-knockdown against Alvin Lagumbay last year which led to another knockout loss for the Japanese. The 32 year old Obara has a record of 20-3-1 with 18 knockouts. All three of his losses were by knockout. Obara, fights out of the orthodox stance and who stands at 5-10 with a reach of 72 inches.

I don’t see this fight going the distance with two heavy-handed fighters who love to go for the finish each time they step inside the ring. No question, Obara packs power  but he doesn’t have good defense especially when he is on the attack. That leaves him wide open to getting nailed and that’s happened thrice already in his career. With Obara, it’s either he hits you or he gets hit.

In limited footage, Abudkakhorov is more conscious on defense and is a patient fighter despite his lack of fights. He takes his time in stalking his prey and doesn’t rush his offense until he sees an opening. But when he sees his prey hurt, he is an excellent finisher. In a fight between knockout artists, the Uzbek has a better chance to score the KO here. I’m picking Kudratillo Abudakhorov to win by stoppage.

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“Fighting" Upcoming Fight Predictions and Picks

March 15 – Tevin Farmer vs Jono Carroll

March 16 – Errol Spence vs Mikey Garcia

March 17 – Michael Conlan vs Ruben Garcia Hernandez

March 23 – Charlie Edwards vs Angel Moreno

March 24 – Lamont Peterson vs Sergey Lipinets

March 30 –  Liam Smith vs Sam Eggington

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