By: William Holmes
Top Rank Promotions returned to pound for pound star Terence Crawford’s home state of Nebraska to promote his attempt to unify the WBA/WBC/IBF and WBA Junior Welterweight Titles.
The Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska was the host site for tonight’s ESPN telecast. The undercard featured stars such as Bryant Jennings, Mike Alvarado and Mike Reed fought on the undercard and emerged victorious.
Photo Credit: Top Rank Promotions
The first bout of the night was between former Olympian and prized prospect Shakur Stevenson (2-0) and David Paz (4-3-1) in the super featherweight division.
Stevenson, a southpaw, opened up the fight with quick, accurate combinations while staying outside of the range of Paz. His counter right hand and right uppercut was finding it’s home in the second round, and Stevenson was finding success going to the body in the third round.
Paz was clearly outmatched and lost his mouthpiece in the third round, had his knees buckled from a straight left hand in the fourth round, and was knocked down from a straight left hand in the fifth round.
Stevenson probably had some opportunities to finish the fight but wasn’t able to capitalize it. He won with scores of 60-53 on all three scorecards.
The next bout of the night was in the light heavyweight division between Oleksandr Gvozdyk (13-0) and Craig Baker (17-1) in the light heavyweight division.
Gvozdyk’s nickname is the “Nail” and he had a lot of hype coming into this fight. Baker kept a high guard early and Gvozdyk seemed content to stay behind his jab. Gvozdyk wasn’t very impressive in the first three rounds of the fight but was doing enough to win the rounds.
Baker was able to land some punches in the fourth round but wasn’t able to match the work rate of Gvozdyk. Gvozdyk landed some heavy shots at the end of the fifth round and he started to move away from using his jab.
The end came in the sixth round when Gvozdyk landed a short right hand that sent Baker down. Baker was able to get back to his feet and told the referee he wanted to continue, but Gvozdyk immediately jumped on Baker with unanswered combinations and forced the referee to stop the bout.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk wins by TKO at 2:04 of the sixth round.
The main event of the evening was between Terence Crawford (31-0) and Julius Indongo (22-0) for the WBA, WBO, WBC, and IBF Junior Welterweight Titles.
Indongo entered the ring first and was greeted by the chorus of boos from the Nebraskan crowd. Terence Crawford decided to walk in through the crowd instead of the usual ring walk on the ground and was greeted warmly by his fans.
Indongo looked like he was several inches taller and longer than Crawford. Crawford, despite traditionally fighting in an orthodox position, came out fighting as a southpaw.
Crawford opened up the fight by landing a counter left hook and Indongo answered with a looping and wide lead right hook. Crawfrod was able to stay out of the range of his taller opponent and was accurate with his counter hooks.
Indongo kept his jab in the face of Crawford at the start of the second round but Crawford was able to time Indongo and land a hard left hook followed by a right uppercut. Crawford was able to roll with Indongo’s punches and land a left hand that sent Indongo down to the mat. Indongo looked like he was still buzzed when he got to his feet but survived the round.
Indongo, to his credit, started off the third round aggressively. Crawford however was able to stay calm and counter a combination by Indongo and land a hard left hand to the body that sent Indongo crashing to the mat writing in pain.
The referee counted to ten and Indongo was unable to get up. Terence Crawford wins by knockout at 1:38 of the third round.
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night Top Rank Promotions will continue their relationship with ESPN by broadcasting a junior welterweight unification bout between one of their top stars, Terence Crawford, taking on fellow junior welterweight title holder Julius Indongo. This bout will take place at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Another bout to be televised will be in the light heavyweight division and will be between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Craig Baker. The undercard will feature many familiar names, including Mike Alvarado, Bryant Jennings, Dillian Whyte, Shakur Stevenson, and Nicholas Walters. Don’t be surprised if some of these names make their way to the main broadcast.
The following is a preview of both televised bouts.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk (13-0) vs. Craig Baker (17-1); Light Heavyweights
Oleksandr Gvozdyk is another Ukranian prospect with a high ceiling and a deep amateur background, though he doesn’t have the amateur accolades of fellow Ukranian Vasyl Lomachenko.
Gvozdyk won the bronze medal for the Ukraine in the 2012 Summer Olympics. He also competed in the World Series of Boxing before turning pro and was undefeated there. He’s thirty years old and three years younger than his opponent, Craig baker. Gvozdyk also stands at 6’2” and has a long reach of 76”.
Baker competed in the 2008 US National Amateur Championships and the 2008 National Golden Gloves but did not place. His amateur background pales in comparison to Gvozdyk.
Gvozdyk turned pro in 2014 and already has an impressive list of defeated opponents. He has defeated the likes of Nadjib Mohammedi, Tommy Karpency, Isaac Chilemba, and Yunieski Gonzalez. He’s currently riding a seven fight stoppage streak.
Baker’s only notable victory was against Umberto Savigne. The one time he took a step up in competition he got knocked out by Edwin Rodriguez. Fourteen of his seventeen wins have come against opponents with records of .500 or worse.
Gvozdyk has the edge in speed, defense, amateur background, and even power. Baker has thirteen knockouts in comparison to Gvozdyk’s eleven stoppages, but Baker’s stoppage victories have come against subpar competition.
It’s doubtful this fight will be competitive. Gvozdyk should won handedly.
Terence Crawford (31-0) vs. Julius Indongo (22-0); WBO/WBC/IBF and WBA Junior Welterweight Titles
It’s rare to see all four major world titles up for grabs in one unification bout, but this anomaly will occur on Saturday night and should be applauded.
Both boxers are undefeated but Crawford is the heavy favorite.
Crawford will be giving up about two and a half inches in height and one and a half inches in reach. However, Crawford is five years younger than Indongo and appears to be the quicker boxer with the harder punch.
Crawford has twenty two stoppages on his resume and five of his past six fights resulted in a stoppage victory. Indongo only has eleven stoppage wins, but three of his past four fights resulted in a KO/TKO.
Crawford has been fairly busy recently. He fought once in 2017 and three times in 2016. Indongo has matched his activity and also fought three times in 2016 and once in 2017.
Crawford’s list of defeated opponents shows he is deserving of his pound for pound ranking. He has defeated the likes of Felix Diaz, John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Henry Lundy, Dierry Jean, Thomas Dulorme, Raymundo Beltran, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns, and Andrey Klimov.
Indongo fought mainly in Africa early on in his career and has not faced the level of opposition that Crawford has faced. He has recently defeated the likes of Ricky Burns and Eduard Troyanovsky, but has not defeated any notable opponents before those wins.
The one edge that Indongo might arguably have is amateur experience. He competed in the 2012 Summer Olympics and Crawford failed to make the Olympic team of the United States. However, Crawford is a former National PAL Champion.
Indongo’s height and reach may give Crawford some issues early on. He was able to surprise many when he defeated Eduard Troyanovsky and he had little problems defeating Ricky Burns. However, Terence Crawford is an elite level boxer and he has enough experience to solve the height and reach of Indongo.
Crawford should win by a comfortable decision.
By: Sean Crose
Terence “Bud” Crawford is a serious force to be reckoned with. The 31-0 junior welterweight titlist can fight orthodox or southpaw, can hit like a mace, and can seemingly adapt to any situation. Those sleeping on Crawford’s opponent this weekend, however, might want to pay attention. For although Julius Indongo is little known here in North America, he too holds a junior welterweight strap (the fight with Crawford will be for divisional supremacy). Indongo can also put people to sleep – quickly. Sure enough, the straight punching 22-0 Nambian has taken out half of his opponents – some in highlight reel fashion.
Why is this important? Because Indongo isn’t simply some hard hitter looking for a puncher’s chance. He’s a man who can box. Just ask Ricky Burns, who Indongo defeated in his home country of Scotland. Look at it this way – fighters like Yuriorkis Gamboa and Viktor Postol had a good few rounds apiece against Crawford. Yet if the enigmatic Nebraskan decides to take his usual tact this Saturday night of warming up as time goes on, it may well be too little, too late. Indongo is too skilled and powerful not to make the most of every available opportunity, just like he isn’t afraid to go into enemy territory to get what’s his.
That’s right, this weekend’s fight is in Crawford’s native Nebraska, just like the Burns fight was in Burn’s Scottish homeland and Indongo’s fight before that was in Russia – against a Russian, the undefeated Eduard Troyanovsky. Indongo won that one by first round knockout, by the way. While it’s true Nambia isn’t known as being a boxing hotbed, it says something that a man like Indongo is so willing to travel. For here’s a fighter with enough confidence to actually go for it. Really go for it. In the age of Mayweather-McGregor, that’s pretty impressive.
Still, this is Crawford we’re talking about here, a man who has beaten everyone in his path impressively. And, make no mistake about it, Crawford’s had some solid competition. Gamboa was a serious adversary when the two men met a few years back. So was Viktor Postol, a man who some assumed had been well avoided by Danny Garcia and who had mopped the figurative floor with Lucas Matthysse. Oh, and Ray Beltran was anything but a soft touch. So yes, the man called Bud is so good, it’s worth wondering aloud if he’s an elite level talent. That’s something Indongo might want to think about in the lead up to this weekend’s ESPN broadcast bout.
Not that he hasn’t thought about it already. Good fighters tend to know what they’re getting themselves into.
Breaking: Crawford And Lomachenko To Fight On ESPN This August
By: Sean Crose
It’s now official – ESPNs interest in Manny Pacquiao is far from a one-off. Today it’s been announced that the network will also showcase two of the biggest names in the sport this August. For Bud Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko will be appearing on basic cable this summer, courtesy of ESPN and promoter Bob Arum.
To make things perhaps more interesting, both men will be engaged in fights that are competitive, at least on paper. Crawford will have a junior welterweight title unification with Julius Indongo in Nebraska on August 19th. Two weeks earlier, on the 5th, Lomachenko will be facing off against Miguel Marriaga, who has battled the likes of Oscar Valedez and Nicholas Walters, in a super featherweight title scrap in LA.
After a long, dry spell with HBO, it’s clear Arum is moving on to what he hopes are greener pastures. Rival Al Haymon has tried his hand at basic cable broadcasts with uneven success. Arum, however, is bringing out his stable’s big guns right out the gate. Things are certainly getting interesting as boxing’s bombastic 2017 thunders along.