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.
He 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 and Sergey Kovalev. All three are managed by Egis Klimas.
In his last fight on July 23 in Las Vegas, he won by sixth-round TKO against Tommy Karpency.
After the fight, ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported from ringside [excerpts]: Blue chip light heavyweight prospect Oleksandr Gvozdyk knocked out two-time world title challenger Tommy Karpency with a body shot in the sixth round….
Karpency, a southpaw, pulled a surprise in the opening round when he nailed Gvozdyk with a clean right hand he did not see and dropped him with 70 seconds left. Gvozdyk was hurt by the shot but cleared his head and finished the round without any issues.
Gvozdyk took control against the slower Karpency and opened a gash on the bridge of his nose in the fifth round.
In the sixth round, Gvozdyk damaged his eye and then followed with a right hand to the body that dropped him to a knee, where he took the full count from [the] referee at 2 minutes, 21 seconds. [End Rafael item]
Trainer Robert Garcia said, “I started training Alex when he turned pro. He’s is a fighter with tremendous skills. I’ve worked with a lot of great fighters, and he’s probably one of the most skilled fighters I’ve ever worked with. He’s very patient, but when he lands he’s got tremendous power. He also has that killer instinct once he hurts his opponent.
“He’s very good friends with Vasyl Lomachenko. He goes to every training session that Lomachenko has, so he learns a lot from him, also. They’re very good friends.
“He only has 10 fights. Within two or three more fights, I think he’s ready for a world title fight.
“He’s that good.”
Oleksandr said, “I live in Oxnard, California, now and train at Robert Garcia Boxing Academy here. Robert trains me with Marcos Contreras.
“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.’ ”