Artur Beterbiev vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk live on ESPN next Friday
By Barry Holbrook: Artur Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk will be fighting next Friday in a highly anticipated light heavyweight unification match on ESPN/ESPN Deportes from the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia. IBF champion Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs) and WBC champ Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs) will be battling it out in what should be a thrilling contest from start to finish.
The two faced each other in 2009 with Beterbiev winning. However, that was in the amateur ranks, and it was a long time ago. The rematch is considered a 50-50 fight in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Gvozdyk, 32, is a little bit younger than the 34-year-old Beterbiev, but it’s not enough of an age difference to give any kind of advantage to the younger fighter.
Gvozdyk took a lot of punishment in his tragic fight against Adonis Stevenson last December. Behind on the scorecards against the 41-year-old Stevenson, Gvozdyk scored an 11th round knockout. Stevenson collapsed after the fight, and later required brain surgery. Stevenson’s boxing career ended on that night.
Beterbiev beat Gvozdyk in 2009
“I’m very excited, and everybody can kick a–,” said Gvozdyk to Fighthub about his match against Beterbiev. “I was waiting for this fight my entire life. First of all it was Stevenson, and second of all, it’s the second step. The final step it to become undisputed. He was a really good amateur. A world champion and silver medalist. Two time European champion. Of course, I remember him really well. We fought in 2009, and he was better at that time, but right now the time is different. We’re going to see what’s going to happen.
“Very tough puncher, and very strong,” said Gvozdyk when asked about his memories of his fight with Beterbiev. “This is his best strength. He can crack you. Yeah, very hard. We were fighting in the amateurs. Now we’re both pros, we’re both developed, and both world champions. It’s a good challenge, and its going to be interesting. I think he improved a lot. He became smarter. He can box too. He’s a really tough opponent,” said Gvozdyk.
It’s unknown how this fight will. With the way that Gvozdyk moves around the ring to avoid his opponents, it’s likely that Beterbiev will need to chase him around. Gvozdyk eventually comes forward to mix it up, and Beterbiev will be ready when he does choose to do that.
Gvozdyk doesn’t have the inside fighting skills to battle with Beterbiev in close. He’s got to keep it on the outside for him to have a shot at winning. Beterbiev is a much better fighter on the inside than Gvozdyk, and that’s not going to change on October 18.
Gvozdyk ready for anything Beterbiev brings
“I think he’s going to try both [box and pressure]. I’m ready for any scenario,” said Gvozdyk in talking about Beterbiev. “I’m getting ready to box him, and to be ready to fight him. They have a saying styles make fights, and we’re going to see what our styles are going to make. I think I got better,” said Gvozdyk.
Gvozdyk is looking pretty good right now, but he might end up giving the fight away if he doesn’t meet Beterbiev in the center of the ring to exchange. In Gvozdyk’s match with Adonis Stevenson, he fought timidly throughout the contest, and it wasn’t until the 11th round where he finally turned it on. If that’s the plan that Gvozdyk’s trainer Teddy Atlas has for him, it might not work against Beterbiev. He’s not 41-years-old like Stevenson was when he fought Gvozdyk, and it would be foolish to give rounds away to him. If Beterbiev gets a wide lead over the passive Gvozdyk, he’ll cruise to victory. For that reason, Gvozdyk can’t make the mistake of fighting cautious for the first 10 rounds against Beterbiev.
Oleksandr analyzes Canelo vs. Kovalev fight
“It’s an interesting fight. Will Canelo be able to handle Kovalev’s size and power,” said Gvozdyk. “I think if Kovalev is able to keep him outside, and keep his range, I think it’s going to be a good chance for Kovalev. But if Canelo is able to get in close, and land his body punches, it could be a problem for Kovalev.
‘I think 190. All I’m thinking about is October 18th. Even if I’m thinking about it, I’m not going to tell you,” said Gvozdyk when asked if he thinks Canelo will stay at 175 if he beats Kovalev on November 2.
On the Beterbiev-Gvozdyk undercard, former WBA welterweight champion Luis Collazo (39-7, 20 KOs) will be fighting unbeaten Kudratillo Abdukakhorov (16-0 9 KOs) in a 10 round fight.
Dmitry Bivol wants Beterbiev vs. Gvozdyk winner
“I would love to face the winner between Gvozdyk and Beterbiev,” said Bivol. “We will know more about my future after that fight,” said Bivol. “I don’t know who wins that fight, I don’t like to make predictions! But it’s a very good fight and I’m looking forward to it.”
WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) might get his wish to fight the winner of the fight, but he could end up regretting it. Those guys hit a lot harder than Bivol, and they’re not going to be out-boxed for 12 rounds like his last opponent Lenin Castillo (20-3-1, 15 KOs). Bivol didn’t look great last Saturday in defeating Castillo by a 12 round unanimous decision on the Oleksandr Usyk vs. Chazz Witherspoon undercard on DAZN in Chicago, Illinois.
Bivol won, but he made it boring by playing it safe and just boxing. The fans booed Bivol for a long time after the fight. They wanted to see more action than what Bivol was willing to give them. In Bivol’s previous fight against Joe Smith Jr., he was hurt by a big shot after the bell in the 10th. The experience of getting hurt may have caused Bivol to play it safe, but Castillo also had a lot to do with his conservative approach.
Oleksandr Gvozdyk has stopped 10 of his last 11 opponents entering next Friday night. 😯 Can he now unify Light Heavyweight world titles against Artur Beterbiev?#BeterbievNail | Oct. 18 | @ESPN pic.twitter.com/pJL3DqEBI0
— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) October 12, 2019
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