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Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs. Mehdi Amar on March.17 for interim WBC 175lb title

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By Jeff Aranow: Undefeated Oleksandr Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KOs) will be in action in 2 months from now fighting for the interim WBC light heavyweight title against #11 WBC Mehdi Amar (34-5-2, 16 KOs) on ESPN on the undercard of Jose Ramirez vs. Amir Imam at Madison Square Garden in New York. This will be a Top Rank promoted card with a stacked undercard of top prospects.

Gvozdyk vs. Amar shapes up to be a mismatch. Gvozdyk, 30, is a much better fighter than Amar. It’s unclear why the WBC is sanctioning this fight as being for the interim WBC light heavyweight belt. You can argue the WBC should insist that Gvozdyk fight the likes of Marcus Browne, Joe Smith Jr. or Andrzej Fonfara.

The winner of the Gvozdyk-Amar fight will be the mandatory challenger to WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis ‘Superman’ Stevenson. Badou Jack is expected to be facing the 40-year-old Stevenson next. The winner of that fight will be mandated to face the winner of the Gvozdyk vs. Amar fight. It’ll be up to the World Boxing Council to decide when they’ll order the fight.

Stevenson hasn’t fought his mandatory challenger for an incredible 5 years since 2013, when he beat Tony Bellew. If the WBC doesn’t order Stevenson to face the winner of the Gvozdyk-Amar fight, it could be a long wait for them to eventually get a crack at his WBC title. It’s hard enough to believe that 5 years has gone by since Stevenson’s last defense against a mandatory challenger. Stevenson has had a lot of voluntary defenses since then.

The 35-year-old Amar of France is currently rated #11 by the WBC, and he has past defeats to Robert Stieglitz, Nadjib Mohammedi), Mehdi Boudla, Pierre Moreno, and Hassan N’Dam and N’Jikam. Amar also has couple of draws to Gabriel Lecrosnier and Konni Konrad. Those draws occurred in 2014, so we’re not talking about a lifetime ago. The good news is Amar has won 7 out of his last 8 fights. Amar’s only loss since 2014 was a 12 round unanimous decision loss to Stieglitz on November 12, 2016. However, Amar’s 7 wins in the last 4 years have been against weak opposition. In Amr’s last fight, he defeated Otar Gogoberishvali (7-4-2) by an 8 round unanimous decision. That was Amar’s only fight in 2017. He didn’t have a very productive year.

Gvozdyk is a 2012 Olympic bronze medalist from Ukraine. He’s ranked #2 by the WBC at 175, and he has recent victories over Craig Baker, Yunieski Gonzalez, Isaac Chilemba, Tommy Karpency and Mohammedi.

Also on the Gvozdyk-Amir and Ramirez-Imam card, unbeaten lightweight contender Felix Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs) will be fighting Antonio Lozada Jr. (38-2, 32 KOs) in a 10 round fight, and undefeated Christopher Diaz 22-0, 14 KOs) fights Miguel Beltran Jr. (32-6, 21 K0s), 2016 Olympian Michael Conlan (5-0, 4 KOs) faces a still to be determined opponent in a 6 round bout, undefeated featherweight Jean Carlos Rivera (13-0, 8 KOs) battles Jose Haro (14-1-1, 8 KOs) in an 8 round fight, and lightweight Teofimo Lopez (7-0, 6 KOs) goes against Will Madera (11-0-1, 5 KOs) in an 8 round fight.

Other fights on the March 17th card are as follows:

• Jose Gonzalez vs. Adan Gonzales – super bantamweight for 6 rounds

• Joseph Adorno vs. Ivan de la Madrid – super featherweight for 4 rounds


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