At the age of 30, Oleksandr – his friends call him Alex – is a three-year pro. Before his debut, he was an elite international amateur who represented his native Ukraine in the 2012 Olympic Games and won the light heavyweight bronze medal. His teammates on the powerhouse Ukrainian Olympic team that year were featherweight gold medalist Vasily Lomachenko and heavyweight gold medalist Aleksandr Usyk – both of whom are his close friends – 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 two-division world champion and rising young superstar Lomachenko, who was voted the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “2017 Fighter of the Year,” welterweight prospect Alexander Besputin, and super lightweight prospect Maxim Dadashev. All are managed by Egis Klimas, the Boxing Writers Association of America’s “Manager of the Year” in 2016 and 2017, and promoted by Top Rank.
He scored two of his most notable wins in back-to-back fights against light heavyweight contenders: on November 16, 2016, he won by eighth-round TKO against Isaac Chilemba, and on April 8, 2017, won by third-round TKO against Yuniesky Gonzalez.
In his last fight on August 19 in Omaha, Nebraska, Oleksandr won by sixth-round TKO against Craig Baker.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported from ringside [excerpts]: Light heavyweight contender Oleksandr Gvozdyk is close to a mandatory world title shot and stayed on course at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. Gvozdyk scored a sixth-round knockout of Craig Baker in the co-feature of the undisputed junior welterweight world title fight between Terence Crawford and Julius Indongo before 12,121.
Throughout the bout, Gvozdyk snapped his long left jab at Baker, who kept a high guard, but he still got through with some hard ones. Gvozdyk also went to the body and landed right hands but had a hard time landing any really clean power shots. Baker landed almost nothing of consequence.
Finally, in the sixth round, Gvozdyk broke through. He landed a powerful right hand to the side of Baker’s head and he went down to a knee. He beat the count, but Gvozdyk continued to pound him along the ropes, forcing [the] referee to step in and stop the bout at 2 minutes, 4 seconds. [End Rafael item]
Oleksandr and his stablemate, Vasily Lomachenko, both train for their fights at Egis Kilmas’ Boxing Laboratory gym in Oxnard, California.
In earlier interviews, Oleksandr said, “It’s very good having Lomachenko here. It’s good memory, you know, like when we were amateurs together having a training camp, making preparations for Olympic Games or World Championships. Now it’s like it’s come back again and we’re all together again. It’s very interesting and very exciting. We even meet in Ukraine because we’re living in different cities. But here, we’re all together, so we spend all of our leisure time together – holidays and weekends, always together. I still don’t have a lot of friends, like native Americans, here.”
“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.
“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.’ ”
AMATEUR, PERSONAL BACKGROUND: Oleksandr said, “I was born in Kharkiv, Ukraine. I’m the only kid in my family. My father was a driver, but he doesn’t work now. My mother is dead already – she passed away couple of years ago. My father was boxer, but he was not like a big boxer, nothing serious. He was training for like, a couple of years and his best result, he was like, champion of our city – amateur boxer. He had like, 15 or 20 fights. It was junior championships at school. He’s just a big fan of boxing.
“I was 10 years old when I started boxing. My classmate in the school, he start boxing first and then he invite me. He was my friend, he said, ‘Okay, let’s go. I just enrolled in the boxing school. Let’s go together. It will be fun.’ That’s it. I just go to boxing. I didn’t follow some dream to be Olympic champion or world champion. I just go to boxing school to be stronger on the street – to be able to protect myself. And then, after a couple of years, I’m realize my dreams to be champion.
“I don’t remember exactly, but I had about 250 amateur fights – maybe 255 fights, 30 losses.
“I’m naturally right-handed. I’m married and have three kids, two boys and one girl. My wife’s name is Daria. One son is eight – his birthday is in October – the girl is three, and the little one is 1 ½.
“I speak Ukrainian and Russian perfectly, and a little bit English.”…