A PROXY war broke out at the Liacouras Center when Russia’s Artur Beterbiev faced Ukraine’s Oleksandr Gvozdyk in a light-heavyweight unification match. The deadly conflict at the Ukraine-Russia border has raged since February 2014, but instead of bombs and bullets, Beterbiev and Gvozdyk settled their differences in a boxing ring.
Battle lines were drawn during the singing of the Russian national anthem, which was partially drowned out by the racket emanating from the Ukrainian fans. They outnumbered Beterbiev’s Russian supporters by a substantial margin and roared whenever Gvozdyk tagged Beterbiev with a punch or looked like he might.
At the end of the evening, however, it was Beterbiev’s smaller band of followers that were celebrating. It wasn’t easy but in the end their man prevailed, knocking down Gvozdyk three times in round 10 to end the fight and add the Ukrainian’s WBC belt to the IBF one he already held.