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WBC: Stevenson-Jack and Alvarez-Gvozdyk winners must fight

By Jeff Aranow: The World Boxing Council has sanctioned the Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs. Eleider Alvarez fight to face the winner of the fight between WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson and Badou Jack. The WBC states that the Stevenson-Jack winner MUST face the Alvarez vs. Gvozdyk winner.

Alvarez-Gvozdyk will be fighting for the interim WBC 175 lb. title, according to WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman.

The WBC sanctioning body is putting their foot down about the long delayed title defense for the 40-year-old Stevenson. They are insisting on the winner of the Stevenson-Jack fight to face the Gvodyk vs. Alvarez fight. The WBC isn’t going to let Stevenson offer a step aside feel to steer around the mandatory defense.

Stevenson-Jack will likely be televised on Showtime Boxing. Gvozdyk is a Top Rank fighter, so there’s a chance that his fight with Alvarez will wind up being televised on ESPN. Top Rank has a deal with ESPN to have their fighters shown on their network.

This is a good deal for #2 WBC Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KOs) if he can beat #1 WBC Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs). Gvozdyk might have been stuck waiting for a title shot against WBC champion Stevenson for ages if not for him being given the opportunity to fight Alvarez for the interim WBC light heavyweight belt.

There’s some confusion about how long it’s been since Stevenson made his last mandatory defense of his WBC belt.

It’s believed that Stevenson last defended it in 2013 in beating Tony Bellew by a 6th round knockout. If Stevenson defended it since, it would be interesting to know who the opponent was, because none of the guys he’s defended his belt against have been ranked No.1 in the WBC’s rankings.

”Mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez will fight Oleksandr Gvozdyk for the WBC interim title, due to the fact that the mandatory defense has been delayed for several reasons. Both winners must fight immediately after their matches,” said WBC president Sulaiman.

There’s a possibility that the Alvarez-Gvozdyk fight will take place on the undercard of the Stevenson-Jack fight card on Showtime in the first quarter of 2018 in Canada. It will depend though on whether Top Rank will agree to let Gvozdyk fight on Showtime rather than ESPN.

2012 Olympic bronze medalist Gvozdyk has a lot of fans excited about him after watching him mostly look sharp in winning his last 5 fights against Craig Baker, Yunieski Gonzalez, Isaac Chilemba, Tommy Karpency and Nadjib Mohammedi. Those guys aren’t the best in the 175lb division, but they’re decent fighters. The 30-year-old Gvozdyk looked good in beating all of them.

Alvarez, 33, has been stepping aside to let Stevenson take voluntary defenses for the past 2 years. Alvarez is the WBC mandatory for Stevenson’s title, and he should have already fought him. The WBC needs to crack down on their different champions if they get in the habit of swerving their mandatory challengers by giving them step aside money. When you have a champion that pays his mandatory challengers to step aside, it creates a delay for the other contenders to get their shot at a title.

Badou Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) vacated his WBA light heavyweight title on September 23 without defending it. Jack beat WBA champion Nathan Cleverly by a 5th round knockout on August 26. Jack gave up the belt without defending it against Dmitry Bivol. Jack is now going in the direction of Stevenson. It’s unclear what Jack’s promoter Floyd Mayweather Jr. will do if he loses to Stevenson. It’s unlikely that Mayweather will have Jack target IBF champion Artur Beterbiev or WBA champion Bivol. WBO champion Sergey Kovalev could be the next target for Jack.

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