After nearly six years as world champion, Adonis Stevenson's run has come to an end. Oleksandr Gvozdyk defeated Stevenson with an 11th-round knockout to become the new WBC world light heavyweight champion on Saturday night at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City.
The 41-year-old Stevenson (29-2-1, 24 KOs) was gassed by the end of the bout, and Gvozdyk (16-0, 13 KOs) took advantage, backing the champion into a corner before knocking him out cold with a flurry of shots to the head.
The Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com) reported Stevenson left Centre Videotron in an ambulance after being put on a stretcher. There was no information on the injury at the time.
Here's the end of the bout, per Showtime Boxing:
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix and ESPN.com's Steve Kim reacted to the outcome:
Gvozdyk's win ended Stevenson's streak of WBC title defenses at nine. The Haitian-Canadian boxer won the title in 2013 over Chad Dawson but faced a string of disappointing challengers until finally showing signs that time was catching up to him with a majority draw against Badou Jack in May.
The 31-year-old Gvozdyk showed excellent technique and resilience to win this bout, as he was in trouble both early and late in the fight.
Stevenson found the range on his powerful left hand in the first couple of rounds. In between plenty of feinting and dancing around the ring, Stevenson would find a moment to throw a setup jab and follow it immediately with a cracking left.
The third round saw Gvozdyk score what should have been a clean knockdown with his first punch of the round, but referee Michael Griffin waved it off and called it a slip.
BoxingScene.com's Cliff Rold disagreed with the call:
Griffin may not have called it a knockdown, but Stevenson clearly felt it. The fight still lacked activity, but Gvozdyk was able to get within range and land a right hand that was missing in action in the first two rounds. He also did a better job of blocking Stevenson's left, allowing him to stay in the pocket and counter.
Unable to get to Gvozdyk's head, Stevenson expanded his arsenal and started throwing to the body. He found cracks in the challenger's defenses, stymying his forward momentum.
The Queensberry Rules felt the change was helpful:
ITRBoxing.com's Lukie Ketelle thought Stevenson was doing just enough to hold on to his title:
Showtime Boxing showed some of the action:
The eighth round saw some excellent technique from Gvozdyk, as he ducked out of the way of Stevenson's power punches before setting back up and quickly firing the right hand to the head. It was simple, clean and effective, but the danger still loomed.
In the 10th, Stevenson landing a thundering left that sent Gvozdyk crashing into the ropes with his legs wobbling.
Ring's Mike Coppinger felt Griffin could have also scored that a knockdown:
Gvozdyk survived thanks to the ropes and a smart clinch, and he even came back at the end of the frame with a flurry of right hands. That was a sign of things to come, as Gvozdyk would end the fight toward the end of the next frame to become the new world champion.
Stevenson's career is likely over. He is 41, no longer champion and has done little to distinguish himself over the past few years, never taking on the likes of other light heavyweight stars like Sergey Kovalev or Andre Ward.
Gvozdyk's future is clearly bright. The 175-pound division has plenty of talent and opportunities for unification fights, with each of the four major world titles being held by a different person.