Artur Beterbiev vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk: The Fight Site Staff Predictions
Who doesn’t get excited for a unification?
We at The Fight Site do, especially when the two titlists are legitimately in the top three of the division. With WBO champ Sergey Kovalev about to engage multi-weight star Saul Alvarez in a ‘super fight’ there really is no better matchup that can be made at light-heavyweight than Russian bulldozer and IBF strapholder Artur Beterbiev and WBC kingpin Oleksandr Gvozdyk.
So tantalising is this matchup that we at The Fight Site decided to offer our predictions.
This is a tough one for me, as I have to admit I might have a completely different opinion of how this fight might go had Beterbiev never fought Callum Johnson. The Brit is underrated and can bang, but compared to Gvozdyk he offers much less in the way of movement, angles and different looks, and he still had Beterbiev on silly street with a well placed shot in the midst of one of Beterbiev’s scary assaults. For me, the Ukrainian can keep Beterbiev on the defensive with his varied combinations, use his feet to stay out of range when Beterbiev gets a bit daring, and mix up his approach to head and body and gradually open Betrerbiev up. I see Gvozdyk wearing Beterbiev down late but—and not to cover all bases here—never count out the Russian, who has truly scary power. The Ukrainian is not on the same level of refinement as his countrymen Lomachenko and Usyk, but I’m pretty confident in picking Gvozdyk by championship round TKO
Although Gvozdyk impressed me against Stevenson by showing an ability to fight through adversity, I still think there’s a fragility about him that will be his undoing against a devastating puncher in Beterbiev. He often doesn’t react well to getting hit, is too tentative at times, and I don’t believe he has the durability nor defence to handle what the Russian brings. Beterbiev is a vulnerable destroyer-type himself, but despite being the marginally less skilled boxer I’m confident that Beterbiev will be able to impose himself in this one and that his power will make the difference. I see Gvozdyk having success in spots, before Beterbiev folds him with a right hand. Beterbiev by KO in the championship rounds
I like how Gvozdyk boxes behind the jab and moves in and out at angles to keep his opponent off-balance (useful against punchers who must plant their feet before detonating their bombs). However, I think Gvozdyk stands a little too upright to avoid the looping punches of a two-fisted hitter like Beterbiev altogether. Artur will get the job done courtesy of a well-timed right hand over the jab or a left hook as Gvozdyk is throwing his hook — punching with Gvozdyk will be key for Beterbiev. Beterbiev by KO
Both men fought each other in the amateurs 10 years ago, Beterbiev won the fight that time. Since then both fighters have become world champions. Two different styles - Beterbiev is a heavy puncher that waits to explode, while Gvozdyk uses his long reach to fight on the outside and moves very well, his pivots are splendid and his changing of patterns makes him hard to catch. Beterbiev spends too much time with his back against the ropes. Even if Artur is dangerous there, and I have to give him the power advantage, I trust Gvodzyk to be in and out just enough not to get caught by one of Beterbiev’s heavy punches. Let’s not forget that Beterbiev got knocked down by Callum Johnson in the pocket. Gvozdyk’s pace should be key here. Gvozdyk by Unanimous Decision
Beterbiev might be the most dangerous puncher in boxing today, and knows it well enough to be patient with it, waiting for the opportunity to deliver his power rather than going wild trying to find it. He does, however, move rather badly. He got himself out of shape trying to turn with the movement of Callum Johnson at times, as well as repeatedly boxed into corners and pushed to the ropes, so Gvozdyk’s in-and-out, pivoting, circular footwork is likely to cause him serious trouble. That, combined with Beterbiev’s lack of any meaningful defence once an opponent is past his jab, means his facade of invulnerability (already cracked by being floored by Johnson) is likely to be tested to its limits. Gvozdyk by TKO
Mookie Alexander (BloodyElbow.com)
This is a remarkably tough fight to call. Beterbiev is the harder puncher. Gvozdyk throws with a higher volume and has a terrific gas tank. He’s the more technical boxer and has some physical advantages. Beterbiev is the more dangerous fighter and thus I think he’s more likely to get a knockout win, but I think Gvozdyk can pump his jab repeatedly over the course of 12-rounds. Gvozdyk by UD but there should be some bursts of violence from both men.