Artur Beterbiev’s trainer discusses win over Oleksandr Gvozdyk
By Kenneth Friedman: Artur Beterbiev’s trainer Marc Ramsey says they wanted to start going to the body earlier in his unification fight against WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk, but his movement made it difficult initially. Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) was going to the right, which made it difficult for IBF champion Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) to land his right hands.
Starting in the 6th, Ramsey told Beterbiev to start pressuring Gvozdyk more, and going to the body to weaken him. Once Beterbiev started landing body shots, Gvozdyk started to lose energy fast.
Beterbiev defeated Gvozdyk by a 10th round knockout last Friday night in their unification bout at the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia.
Gvozdyk was more complicated than we thought Beterbiev’s coach says
“We planned on fighting him a little bit faster, but Gvozdyk came with a good strategy and tactic,” said Beterbiev’s trainer Marc Ramsey to Unrivaled Boxing Talk And News. “It was a little more complicated than we thought. We didn’t want to let Gvozdyk use his right hand, movement and distance. We wanted Gvozdyk to counter punch every jab, every right, and getting closer to his opponent to put pressure on him.
“He was able to do it maybe starting round 5, 6. We were a little surprised at the beginning when Gvozdyk was moving right all the time, and neutralizing the right of Beterbiev. It was well done, and we needed some adjustments before we could go with our own game plan. When you fight at that level, it’s a very high level of exchange and ability. We had an opponent that was very, very complete fighter,” said Ramsey.
Gvozdyks’s trainer Teddy Atlas did his homework well in coming up with a good game plan that helped him prevent Beterbiev, 34, from landing his powerful right hands.
Ramsey told Beterbiev to start pressuring Gvozdyk in 6th
“At one point we could see the energy of the opponent was not the same,” said Ramsey. “From that point, the fight turned. In round six, I asked Beterbiev to put a little more pressure and get closer faster and impose his physical aspect of the game, because I felt we were losing by one round or two. We didn’t start fast enough going to the body.
“Artur started the fight a little bit going to the head, and at one point, Gvozdyk was able to control too much the distance for us. We started asking in four or five to Artur, ‘you have to go to the body. You have to break him down some more before you get close and hurt the guy. You need to take his energy.’ He started going with an effective right hand to the body, and we could see from that point the energy of the opponent fall round by round,” said Ramsey.
It’s safe to say that if Ramsey knew how effective Beterbiev’s body punches were, he would have had him throwing them from round one. Gvozdyk, 32, couldn’t take Beterbiev’s body shots at all. Whenever Beterbiev targeted Gvozdyk’s body, the reaction from him was as clear as day. He couldn’t take Beterbiev’s power when he was getting hit downstairs.
Gvozdyk vs. Beterbiev was a chess match
“It was a great chess game. We’d make adjustments every round,” said Ramsey. Everyone knows he’s physically strong and hits hard. Sometimes his opponents underestimate his ability, and how sophisticated he can be.
“I believe in the technical aspect, he can be even better than what he showed on Friday night. It wasn’t the best technical performance, but technically he can do better no doubt,” said Ramsey.
Beterbiev had no choice but to adapt in each round in the first half of the contest, being that Gvozdyk was giving him different looks. However, the calm manner that Beterbiev was fighting was the complete opposite of how Gvozdyk was. Beterbiev looked so relaxed, and unperturbed with the shots he was getting hit with. Each time Gvozdyk would land a big punch, Beterbiev showed no reaction, and would just keep coming forward ready to nail him with a hard punch.
Beterbiev to fight IBF mandatory Meng Fanlong next
“Right now, we have no choice but to fight our mandatory challenger, and that’s exactly what we’re going to do,” said Ramsey. “This is a tricky fight with the Chinese fighter. He’s not very popular. If you look at his resume, he’s an Olympian, and a bronze medalist. He’s a very good boxer, and a southpaw. It’s the kind of fight if you go on cruise control, and don’t prepare well, you could have some surprises.
“It’s a very, very serious fight. The danger with the Chinese guy [Fanlong] is he’s a southpaw. It’s going to take a little bit longer in training camp to adjust to this. He’s not the same kind of challenge. and he’s a very good technician. And he’s very fast, and its not the same type of fight,” said Ramsey.
The unbeaten Meng Fanlong (16-0, 11 KOs) will have the home country advantage against Beterbiev, as the fight will be staged in a small Island outside of China. That’s where Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum wants to take the fight.
Ramsey says Beterbiev wants WBA and WBO titles
“Artur is 34-years-old, he doesn’t have time to lose,” said Ramsey. We’re looking at another belt. We want the WBO and we want also the WBA. Sometimes he takes risks at the same time you’re trying to hit him. That was the case on Friday, and it was also the case with his last opponent before Hot Rod. I think my boxer sometimes doesn’t respect the power of his opponents.
“In the case of Callum Johnson, he hit him with a good shot. We already knew going into that fight that people underestimate Callum Johnson. I told Artur. The best fighter in the UK is Buatsi, and the second is Johnson before Yarde. He’s a real professional fighter, and he can beat a lot of guys. To me he’s an underrated fighter. The danger with Johnson was the power. He can hit and hit very hard,” said Ramsey.
Top Rank Boxing promoter Bob Arum already has plans for Beterbiev to challenge WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol after he makes his mandatory defense against Fanlong. Arum spoke to Bivol’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, and he wants to make the fight. So as long as Beterbiev gets passed Fanlong, he’ll be facing Bivol in 2020.
It’ll be trickier for Beterbiev to fight for the WBO belt. If Saul Canelo Alvarez beats WBO champion Sergey Kovalev on November 2, he’ll either vacate or hold onto it and likely make easy title defenses. Canelo’s probably not going to fight Beterbiev.
Beterbiev wasn’t hurt in Callum Johnson fight
“It’s always going into those type of fights. He said it was more of a surprise than being hurt,” said Ramsey about Beterbiev’s fight with Callum. “It was a good left hook from Johnson coming from his blind side that he didn’t see. It wasn’t a flash where his legs go for one second. He wasn’t hurt like in danger.
“I don’t think it’s a question of chin. In boxing, you receive a punch. When you take risks to knock somebody out, something is going to happen for sure,” said Ramsey.
In looking at that 2nd round of the Beterbiev vs. Callum Johnson fight, it looked like Artur was stunned after getting dropped by a left hook. When Beterbiev got back up, his feet were shaky for a moment, but then he was fine. Beterbiev wasn’t badly hurt, but he was definitely hurt by the punch. Johnson tries to connect with additional big shots in the 2nd round, but he couldn’t do it. For the remainder of the round, Johnson only landed one hard right hand.