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Stevenson looks for knockout vs Gvozdyk in WBC title fight

November 29, 2018
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Oleksandr Gvozdyk, left, and Adonis Stevenson gesture during a press conference Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, in Quebec City. They will fight for Stevenson's WBC light heavyweight boxing title on Saturday. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press via AP)

QUEBEC CITY (AP) — Canadian Adonis Stevenson says he needs “just one punch” to defeat Oleksandr Gvozdyk, while the Ukrainian believes the long game will lead to victory.

They’ll fight for the WBC light heavyweight championship on Saturday at the Videotron Centre.

Defending champion Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KO) knows undefeated Gvozdyk (15-0-0, 12 KO) will be a tough opponent.

“He’s hungry, he will want to go far in the boxing match,” Stevenson said Thursday at a news conference. “But as the fight goes into the late rounds, he will become tired because I will be hitting him hard.”

The 41-year-old Stevenson said he’ll be going for the knockout, a strategy endorsed by trainer Sugar Hill Steward, nephew of the legendary Emanuel Steward.

“I love knockouts,” Steward said. “No disrespect to the other fighters, but my late uncle always said, ‘Don’t leave anything to the judges,’ so that is why Adonis will be going for the knockout.”

Stevenson’s last fight was May 19 in Toronto, when the bout ended in the champion’s favor after a majority draw against Sweden’s Badou Jack. It was Stevenson’s ninth successful title defense since winning the belt against Chad Dawson in 2013.

Gvozdyk was a bronze medalist at the 2012 London Olympics. He’ll have Teddy Atlas, boxing analyst on ESPN for the last 21 years, in his corner.

“We have a plan, we understand what’s in front of us,” Atlas said. “We came up with a plan to disarm the bomb that Stevenson has.”

Atlas also said the champion’s age isn’t a factor because Stevenson’s fights tend not to last long.

“He’s like an old car that has been kept in a garage and just came out for short rides,” Atlas said.

The 31-year old Gvozdyk trained the last eight weeks in California. He compared Stevenson’s age to that of Bernard Hopkins and George Foreman, who enjoyed success in their late 40s and early 50s.

“It depends on how you maintain your living conditions; what you eat, how you train, so age is not a factor,” Gvozdyk said.

He said his chances of winning get better as the fight gets longer.

“My height and my patience are my advantages in this fight,” he said. “It’s my time, I had a great camp, I’m ready.”

Also Saturday, Marie-Eve Dicaire of Quebec will take her perfect record (13-0-0) in the ring against IBF female super welterweight champion Chris Namus (24-4-0) of Uruguay.

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