At the age of 29, Oleksandr – his friends call him Alex – is a two-year pro. Before his debut, he was an elite international amateur representing Ukraine and won the 2012 Olympic bronze medal at light heavyweight. His teammates on the powerhouse Ukrainian Olympic team were featherweight gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko – who has become his close friend – heavyweight gold medalist Oleksandr Usyk, light welterweight silver medalist Denys Berinchyk, and welterweight bronze medalist Taras Shelestyuk. Oleksandr was also 9-0 with 3 knockouts in World Series of Boxing fights over the last 1 ½ years of his amateur career.
As a professional, he is a stablemate of Lomachenko, Usyk, and Sergey Kovalev. All are managed by Egis Klimas, who was voted the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “2016 Manager of the Year.”
Oleksandr took significant steps up in class of opposition in his last two fights and gave impressive performances.
On November 19 in Las Vegas, he won by eighth-round TKO against Isaac Chilemba.
In his last fight on April 8 in Oxon Hill, Maryland, he won by third-round TKO against former Cuban amateur standout Yuniesky Gonzalez.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported from ringside [excerpts]: Light heavyweight contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk destroyed fringe contender Yunieski Gonzalez in a third-round knockout victory.
Gvozdyk took his time and then got rolling in the third round as he landed almost at will. A minute into the round he landed a tremendous right hand that dropped Gonzalez. Later in the round he landed another clean shot that had Gonzalez essentially out on his feet and wobbling.
Moments later, Gvozdyk landed another right hand to the head that dropped Gonzalez face first, and as his corner was throwing in the towel, [the] referee waved off the fight at 2 minutes, 55 seconds.
Gvozdyk has quickly established himself as a top-10 contender, having in 2016 scored knockout wins against former world title challengers Nadjib Mohammedi, Tommy Karpency and Isaac Chilemba in his biggest win in November.
And then came the knockout of Gonzalez, a former standout amateur from Cuba. [End Rafael item]
Oleksandr said, “I live in Oxnard, California, now and train at World Boxing Gymnasium. Marcos Contreras trains me.
“Lomachenko is my good friend. We were together on amateur team. I met him first, like, maybe 2004. I start to be a friend since maybe only 2009 – when I start to be member of Olympic team, we start to be friends. We were on team together until Olympic Games, 2012, and then we were together one season of World Series of Boxing until 2013. After the series, we both signed with Top Rank.
“Right now, Lomachenko have training camp in Oxnard, always in the same gym, and I always join to him to train together. His father used to train me in amateur – he was not like, my official trainer, but he always was helping me and we always trained together. He helps me now in camp, too.
“I try to always stay in shape. I never stop training. When I rest, I try to do some like, morning warm-up, some little exercises, or ride bicycle. I try to do something always. That’s why I can’t tell you exactly how long I’m preparing for this fight.
“I was born in Soviet Union, where Alexander is common name. But in Ukrainian translation of Alexander, it’s Oleksandr. It’s pronounced like Alexander – everybody calls me Alex. In Ukraine, one half of people speak Ukrainian and one half, in eastern part, speak Russian. I am from eastern part and speak Russian when I’m in Ukraine. Officially, in my passport, I’m Oleksandr – with ‘o’ – but speaking, I’m Alexander. My last name is pronounced – the ‘g’ is not silent, but almost silent.
“My nickname is ‘The Nail,’ like the tool to join something, not like on the finger. The exact translation of my last name from Russian is ‘nail.’ ”