Fight fans will tune in on Saturday, April 8th to watch Vasyl Lomachenko, arguably the number one pound-for-pound boxer in the world right now, defend his title against Jason Sosa. I previewed that fight the other day.
Now it’s time to turn our attention to the undercard. Lomachenko has recruited two fellow Ukrainian Olympic teammates, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Oleksandr Usyk, to accompany him to the MGM National Harbor. Together they each took home a medal in London; Lomachenko and Usyk with gold and Gvozdyk a bronze.
This Saturday, Usyk puts his WBO junior-heavyweight title on the line against the undefeated Michael Hunter, while Gvozdyk takes on the little-known Yunieski Gonzalez.
Can the trio make Ukraine proud once again?
Oleksandr Usyk (-1000) vs. Michael Hunter (+700), Draw (+3300)
Oleksandr Usyk (11-0) has an impressive undefeated professional record, but aside from his title fight against Krzysztof Głowacki, he’s yet to face a serious opponent. He made his first title defense and American debut last year with a fight against Thabiso Mchunu, who he knocked down twice before the fight was stopped.
For his second title defense, he’ll take on the undefeated Michael Hunter (12-0). Like Mchunu, Usyk is expected to make easy work of Hunter. But Usyk did not look good against Mchunu, and if the South African had taken the initiative early in the fight, Usyk would have found himself in deep trouble.
It’s a long shot, but I think Hunter is worth a pick.
Pick: Michael Hunter (+700)
Oleksandr Gvozdyk (-500) vs. Yunieski Gonzalez (+500), Draw (+2500)
Oleksandr Gvozdyk (12-0) had an active year in 2016. He fought four times, including one title fight and two title defenses. He ended the year as the NABF light-heavyweight champion. Now, he faces Cuban boxer Yunieski Gonzalez (18-2).
Gonzalez suffered back-to-back losses in 2015 against Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and Jean Pascal, but redeemed himself with two wins in 2016.
There’s not a whole lot of value to be made from Gvozdyk, but this is a fight designed to pad his resume and I don’t think Gonzalez will be the one to tarnish his perfect record.
Pick: Oleksandr Gvozdyk (-500)
by Martial Arts Nomad [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]