The other Ukrainian Oleksandr, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, WBC Lightheavy champ, defends against highly touted Russian IBF champ, Artur Beterbiev, this Friday, October 18th @Liacouras Center, Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.
This is a highly desirable unification bout between two Eastern Europeans whose countries are currently engaged in a low simmering war with multiplying long term casualties and displacements. The 32 yr old Gvozdyk, 17-0, 14 KO, and the 34 yr old Beterbiev, 14-0, 14 KO, don’t seem hold such deathly hostilities towards each other, yet nonetheless, these are two no nonsense fighters who will look to discombobulate the other within the legal rules of boxing. World leaders would do well to emulate that honorable part of boxing, but the corrupting spoils of war and glory have regrettably proven endemic throughout history.
You can also see that Beterbiev has a massive skull set that may well prove to be impossible to crack. While he knocked Gvozdyk in the amateurs, he also lost to the other Ukrainian Oleksandr, Oleksandr Usyk having beat him on the way to Gold in the 2012 Olympics in the heavyweight(Pro Cruiserweight) class. So here Beterbiev is now drained down to current pro era Lightheavy limit of 175 lbs that allows maximum rehydration after the weighin, that in his case may be well into the 190s. That advantage may well explain the overall thickness of his physicality, power, and perpetual scowl from having to make an unnatural weight class.
In short, Beterbiev is a Big Load for the division.
I suspect that Gvokdyk is the better boxer but for the handicap of his new trainer, the certified Loonytunes Teddy Atlas who is known to have pulled a gun on young amateur teenage Mike Tyson that got him booted from the Cus D’Amato stable, and years later and none the wiser, he grabbed his gun to go track down Donny Lalonde with bad intentions. Thankfully that search turned out to be fruitless, but nonetheless, Teddy is the wildcard in this fight and typically will viciously bait Beterbiev in the pressers hoping to get him off his team strategy.
Beterbiev is not the kind of guy to be put in a frenzy, so The Nail really does have his work cut out for him similar to the Muhammad Ali vs Joe Frazier first Fight of the Century. To paraphrase Joe during the post fight after beating up and knocking down Ali, “I knew Clay was gonna have to fight and run whereas all I had to do is fight.” Most assuredly, gonna to be some kind of an epic fight in Philly this Saturday night and near a guarantee Loony Teddy blows his top by the end.