Callum Johnson picks Beterbiev to beat Gvozdyk
By Jeff Aronow: Former world title challenger Callum Johnson (17-1, 13 KOs) is picking IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev to defeat WBC champ Olekandr Gvozdyk tonight on ESPN. Johnson says the unbeaten two-time Russian Olympian Beterbiev (14-0, 14 KOs) will be too strong for Gvozdyk (17-0, 14 KOs) to deal with in their fight at the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia.
Callum is well familiar with Beterbiev, having lost to him by a 4th round knockout last October in Chicago, Illinois. Johnson, 34, hurt Beterbiev in the 2nd round, but then failed to go after him. Beterbiev then recovered and came back to stop Johnson in the 4th. Callum regrets not emptying this gas tank in the 3rd to try and finish the still hurt Beterbiev.
Callum: Beterbiev wins tonight
“The fight tonight is the best two, I think we’ll find out who is the best tonight,” said Callum to skysports.com. “I think Beterbiev wins. I hope he wins! [That] might be a little bit of bias but if I’d never boxed Beterbiev I still think I’d be picking him to win because he is a very strong fighter and I just see him being too strong.
“He’s [Beterbiev] also a very good boxer, he’s got the amateur experience, the amateur pedigree, just like Gvozdyk, [but] I just expect Beterbiev to win. It could be a close fight. It’s a genuine 50/50. But I think Beterbiev is going to come out on top.”
It’s generally believed that Beterbiev is going to need to push the action hard in the early going if he wants to win the fight tonight. The taller 6’2″ Gvozdyk is going to be using his jab, and moving around the ring to keep Beterbiev from getting near him to land his shots. Beterbiev is the better puncher of the two, but he needs to be close for him to land his big punches.
Teddy Atlas needs to keep his emotions under control
Gvozdyk has an excellent trainer in Teddy Atlas, who will be trying to keep him following the game plan. The one weakness that Atlas has as a coach is turns into a cheerleader/motivational coach during fights, and he urge Gvozdyk to too aggressively. If Beterbiev starts out well tonight in the first 4 rounds, Atlas will encourage Gvozdyk to take more chances, and fight more aggressively.
That may play into Beterbiev’s hands, because his best shot at winning is to stay mentally composed. That’ll be hard for Gvozdyk to do if Atlas is panicking in between rounds, and ordering him to bum rush Beterbiev. Atlas is a good coach when his fighters are doing well, but not so good when things are going badly for them.