Will David Benavidez sink or swim when he tests the waters at light heavyweight against Oleksandr Gvozdyk? – Ring News 24

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David Benavidez and Oleksandr Gvozdyk. Photo credit: Esther Lin/Premier Boxing Champions

Former WBC super middleweight titleholder David ‘The Mexican Monster’ Benavidez 28-0 (24) is set to test the waters at light heavyweight when he face Oleksandr ‘The Nail’ Gvozdyk 20-1 (16) for the interim WBC belt at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday night.

The intriguing contest will be the main support bout to the WBA lightweight title fight between champion Gervonta ‘Tank’ Davis 29-0 (27) and challenger Frank ‘The Ghost’ Martin 18-0 (12).

Las Vegas-based Phoenix, Arizona native Benavidez, 27, has long been chasing a shot at undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 61-2-2 (39). But with 33-year-old Mexican superstar repeatedly saying he won’t face him, Benavidez is stepping up in weight.

Ukraine’s Gvozdyk, 37, has spent his entire professional career boxing in the 175-pound weight class. The only blemish on his record was in his challenge to hard-hitting Artur Beterbiev 20-0 (20) for the WBC and IBF light heavyweight titles five years ago that ended in a 10th round stoppage loss.

Gvozdyk walked away from the sport to pursue business interests, but returned last year to log three wins over average opposition. Now with some rhythm back in his career, he says he is ready for a challenge like Benavidez.

“I have a lot of experience and I have something to show him… Even though he’s moving up in weight, he’s still a big guy. So I’m not thinking about that. I’m expecting him to be in the best shape of his career, just like I am,” Gvozdyk said.

“He has more pro fights and he’s like a seasoned pro fighter. I think in terms of pro experience, we’re kind of even.

“He might even have more experience because of the quality of fighters he had, which might even be more than mine. I had a longer career. I had 250 amateur fights and I have something to show him.”

Benavidez won his first world title seven years ago when he picked up the vacant WBC strap with a split decision win over Ronald Gavril before pitching a shutout on two of the judges’ scorecards in their rematch in 2018.

He was stripped of the belt for failing a drug test for cocaine but regained the title with a ninth-round knockout of Anthony Dirrell in 2019 before being stripped again the following year, this time for missing weight by almost three pound for his bout against Roamer Alexis
Angulo, who he went on to defeat by 10th round stoppage.

His next five fights were without controversy. He made weight on each occasion for his wins over Ronald Ellis, Kyrone Davis, David Lemieux, Caleb Plant and Demetrius Andrade. Only Plant heard the final bell.

Which brings us to Saturday night’s fight.

“I’m really thankful for everyone who came out to support, this fight is for you,” said Benavidez, who indicated can still make the the super middleweight limit of 168-pounds if the right fight presents itself at the lower weight.

“We’ve worked extremely hard and we’re going for the knockout this Saturday… My plan is to conquer the light heavyweight and super middleweight divisions. Whoever comes to the plate, they can get it. I’m ready to fight whoever and beat whoever.”

Gvozdyk refused to be drawn on a prediction for the fight.

“I think it’s going to be an exciting and great fight and you will never forget,” he said.

 

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