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.
“Saturday is a big fight. I’m not underestimating Gvozdyk. I know he’s a good fighter and he’s hungry. He’s trained very hard to get my title. But everybody who comes to my home in Canada always wants my title, but it’s never happened and it’s not going to happen now,” Stevenson said.
“I’m looking for the knockout. That’s just my mentality and the way that I train. Sugar [Hill Steward] trains me to think that way but I can also go 12 rounds, it’s not a problem. I know that if he makes a mistake, I’m going to catch him. He only has to slip up once in 12 rounds. One mistake, one punch. That’s all it’s going to take. I’m ready. I know I can punch and it’s 12 rounds. I just need one punch. Just one. I’m going to catch him and the night will be over.
“I’ve been pushing myself in training and I’m going to put on another great performance come Saturday and will defend my title once again. In the words of my old trainer, Emanuel Steward, ‘knockouts sell’ and that’s what I’m going for in this fight. I know I’m facing a good boxer who’s coming in very determined. He’ll be ready, but it won’t be enough. Superman is in the building!”
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.
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.