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Fight Preview: Artur Beterbiev vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk


Top Rank Boxing on ESPN (TV: Undercard: ESPN + Main Card: ESPN)

Friday, October 18th Undercard 6:30 PM ET, Main Card 10:00 PM ET Liacouras Center (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

WBC/IBF Unification Light Heavyweight Title Fight: Artur Beterbiev (14-0) vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-0)

Fight odds: Artur Beterbiev -105 Oleksandr Gvozdyk -125

Fanduel Boxing Pick Artur Beterbiev vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk

Artur Beterbiev will face Oleksandr Gvozdyk in Philadelphia for the WBC and IBF Light Heavyweight Titles at 175 lbs. It is a unification bout as Beterbiev holds the IBF Title and Gvozdyk holds the WBC Title. This is one of the most evenly matched fights that has been scheduled in 2019. Beterbiev is 34, 6’0 and 174.5 lbs with a 73 inch reach. Gvozdyk is 32, 6’2 and 174.3 lbs with a 76 inch reach. These boxers are two of the best in the light heavyweight division and this should result in one of the fights of the year.

Beterbiev is a Russian knockout artist that has won all of his 14 bouts by knockout and will look to do the same against Gvozdyk. This will be the toughest opponent that Beterbiev has faced, but should come in confident following his 5th Round KO of Radivoje Kalajdzic. Beterbiev got the win because of his relentless pressure and his destroyer mentality. The true knockout punchers not only have the power to execute their plan but also the mentality. Beterbiev fits this description as he doesn’t want to give his opponents room to breathe and is always looking to land power punches.

Gvozdyk, a Ukrainian is a better boxer and rose to prominence following his 11th Round brutal knockout win over Adonis Stevenson to win the WBC Light Heavyweight Title in December of 2018. Stevenson was the WBC Title holder from 2013-2018. It was a sign that things were changing in the division after Stevenson lost his Title in dramatic fashion in his native Canada. Stevenson retired following the loss, nearly dying from a brain injury that resulted from the knockout. Stevenson was hospitalized and put in an induced coma for 3 weeks that saved his life. Gvozdyk was shaken emotionally by what he did to Stevenson, but has done his best to keep that outside of the ring. If Gvozdky is not 100% focused on Beterbiev then it could be a great night for the Russian destroyer who can take advantage of a mentally weaker fighter.

Fanduel Boxing Pick Artur Beterbiev vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk

Following that huge win, Gvozdyk has proven to be the real deal and is coming off a 5th Round TKO of Doudou Ngumbu in March of 2019. Ngumbu was unable to continue following a non-contact leg injury. Gvozdyk has great footwork and balance that he uses to set up his combinations. The key to this fight will be how effective Gvozdyk can be in keeping Beterbiev on the outside and out of range of his power punches. Beterbiev will want to make this a phone booth fight and will look to mitigate Gvozdyk’s slight reach and height advantage with forward pressure and combination boxing to the head and body.

Gvozdyk will need to stay active and work behind his jab against an all action fighter in Beterbiev. Gvozdyk has the advantage in boxing fundamentals and footwork. Beterbiev has the advantage in punching power and hand speed. This should be a close fight that either fighter could win. Gvozdyk showed he had a strong chin against Stevenson and won’t easily be knocked out. However, Beterbiev showed some vulnerability after being knocked down by Callum Johnson in 2018, a fight that Beterbiev still won by 4th Round KO. Gvozdyk should look to fight this bout at a middle distance so his reach is long enough to reach Beterbiev, but also far enough to get out of range of his opponent’s punches. With two undefeated champions entering the ring on Friday it is bound to be a competitive and exciting fight that will showcase two elite light heavyweight boxers. Gvozdyk’s size advantage and overall boxing acumen should be enough to get the decision win against a come forward destroyer in Beterbiev.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk by Split Decision