Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Artur Beterbiev unify two of the four major boxing belts in the light heavyweight division when they meet on October 18, 2019 at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Who Are These Fighters?
Oleksandr Gvozdyk is the WBC and Lineal light heavyweight champion. He won both titles after knocking out long-time champion Adonis Stevenson in December 2018 in a fight that would turn out to be Stevenson’s last. Superman suffered a concussion and was in a coma for weeks after the bout.
The 32-year old from Kharkiv, Ukranian SSR stands 6-2 with a reach of 76 inches. He fights out of the orthodox stance and has a record of 17-0 with 14 knockouts (82.4%) Nicknamed as “The Nail”, he has stopped 11 out of his last 12 opponents. In his last bout, Gvozdyk knocked out Doudou Ngumbu in five rounds last March.
Artur Beterbiev has held the IBF 175-pound title since 2017. He won the belt with a 12th round knockout of Enrico Kolling. Beterbiev was a decorated amateur, winning two gold medals at the European Championships and one gold medal in the World Championships. He also reached the quarter-finals of the 2012 Olympics while fighting as a heavyweight.
Beterbiev is 34-years old, is 6-0 tall and has a reach of 73 inches while fighting as an orthodox fighter. The Dagestan native has a perfect professional record of 14-0 with 14 knockouts. He has fought over seven rounds just once in his career and he has seven knockouts inside round 3.
Odds from TitanBet as of 10/15/19
Why Is This a Big Fight?
These are two of the best 175-pound fighters today but because the light heavyweight division isn’t as popular as welterweight or heavyweight, not many people know these fighters. These fighters share plenty in common. They are both in their early 30’s, both have good amateur backgrounds, they are unbeaten but don’t have too many professional bouts. Both also wanted a major fight and with Sergey Kovalev not available, fighting each other was the next big thing.1
Beterbiev fought Gvozdyk as an amateur in 2009 and won the bout. Beterbiev also owns amateur wins over Michael Hunter, Yunier Dorticos and Thabiso Mchunu. He was a two-time Olympian who made the Round of 16 but didn’t win a medal. Meanwhile, Gvozdyk didn’t have the amateur pedigree of Beterbiev but he won a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics. The Ukranian also fought nine times without a loss in the World Series of Boxing.
IBF champion Beterbiev has a perfect record of 14-0 with 14 knockouts. He stopped Tavoris Cloud faster than Adonis Stevenson did. He knocked out Isidro Prieto inside one round when Eleider Alvarez couldn’t do so. Meanwhile, Gvozdyk has won all of his 17 bouts with 14 knockouts. He knocked out Yunieski Gonzales who almost beat Jean Pascal. Gvozdyk also beat Isaac Chilemba is a manner better than Sergey Kovalev did. Both men have tremendous punching power but I think it is Beterbiev who hits harder.
Both fighters have been knocked down before and can be hurt. Beterbiev has been dropped twice while Gvozdyk has been down once and hurt against Adonis Stevenson. Between the two, I think it is Alexander who has the better chin. I’m just not sure if that good chin can hold against Beterviev who is one of the division’s hardest hitters. When it comes to ring experience though, it is Gvozdyk who has the better resume. Gvozdyk’s win over Stevenson is the biggest win between both fighters.
Beterbiev is an excellent offensive fighter. He is a pressure fighter and when you compare the two, it’s Beterbiev who fights more aggressively. Beterbiev has good blocking ability and he has decent movement inside the ring. However, his defense isn’t polished and he can be susceptible to counters. That is going to be his problem against Gvozdyk.
Gvozdyk is a patient destroyer. He has a very high guard and has excellent basics. He doesn’t rush into things and is a conventional fighter. Gvozdyk doesn’t take too many risks and he commits very few mistakes. He doesn’t do anything spectacular but does the basics and gets the win always.
I think Beterbiew will be in the fight early and I won’t be surprised if he is ahead on the scorecards after six rounds. However, I think he is going to tire in the second half of the fight and Gvozdyk is going to finish stronger because he doesn’t expend too much energy. I think Gvozdyk is going to start landing his counter punches in Round 7 and he is going to pile up the points and win a close but clear decision.
This is a tough fight to call really and both men have a real chance of beating the other fighter. Between the two though, I like Gvozdyk because Beterbiev has not fought the kind of competition that Gvozdyk has. He’s also logged more rounds as a professional and has displayed better overall boxing skills. Beterbiev is the bigger puncher but can he catch Gvozdyk clean? I’m not sure. But I’m pretty confident that Oleksandr Gvozdyk is going to outbox Artur Beterbiev and avenge his 2009 loss. I’m picking Oleksandr Gvozdyk to beat Artur Beterbiev on 10/18/19.
Prediction: Oleksandr Gvozdyk