By Allan Fox: Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is looking to find a suitable replacement fight to fill in for the co-feature bout on the July 23 card on HBO PPV. Terence Crawford vs. Viktor Postol is he headliner, but their previously scheduled co-feature bout between WBO upper middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez and Dominik Britsch was cancelled on Wednesday due to Ramirez suffering a hand injury that will require surgery.
Arum’s possibilities as the replacement for the Ramirez-Britisch fight come down to these fights:
Light welterweight contenders Lenny Zappavigna (34-2, 24 KOs) and China’s IK Yang (19-1, 14 KOs). The fight is already scheduled for the Crawford-Postol card. Arum would have it moved up to the co-feature bout. The main negative about this fight as the co-feature bout is that neither of them is well known to the casual boxing public. The second negative with the Zappavigna-Yang fight is that neither of these fighters are considered future world champion caliber fighters. They’re just contenders and not fighters that have a good chance of becoming world champions in the future.
Yang, 31, was soundly beaten in his last fight by Cesar Rene Cuenca, who beat him by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision a year ago in July 2015. Yang has been inactive for an entire year since then. The 28-year-old Zappavigna has been a pro for 10 years. He tried to step it up five years ago against better opposition and he was beaten twice in a row by Miguel Vazquez and Ammeth Diaz in one sided fights.
Diaz stopped Zappavigna in the 5th round. Since the loss to Diaz, Zappavigna has gone back to fighting weaker opposition and he’s won his last nine fights. You have to suspect that when Zappavigna starts fighting better opponents again, he’ll get beaten just like before.
One other option is to have 175lb prospect Oleksandr Gvozdyk (10-0, 10 KOs) fight against a quality opponent. Gvozdyk, 29, is already scheduled to fight on July 16 against Robert Berridge in a 10 round fight at the Pioneer Event Center in Lancaster, California. Unless Arum pulls Gvozdyk out of the fight, it would be a very fast turnaround for him to come back a week later and fight in the co-feature bout on the July 23 card on HBO pay-per-view. The Ukrainian Gvozdyk captured a bronze medal in 2012 Olympics.
Gvozdyk recently destroyed Nadjib Mohammedi in the 2nd round last April to capture the vacant NABF light heavyweight title. This is the same Mohammedi that IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev stopped in three rounds last year in July 2015. Gvozdyk was able to stop him a round earlier than Kovalev. However, that’s not to say that Gvozdyk is as talented as Kovalev. All you need to do is look at the two fighters in action and it seems likely that Kovalev would destroy Gvozdyk quite easily. Gvozdyk is a good fighter, but he doesn’t appear to be in the same class as Kovalev. You can argue that top 175lb contender Artur Beterbiev is a better fighter than Gvozdyk as well.
The best option Arum has is to insert the featherweight bout between unbeaten Oscar Valdez (19-0, 17 KOs) and Matias Adrian Rueda (26-0, 23 KOs) into the co-feature. Valdez and Rueda will be fighting for the vacant WBO World featherweight title.