Boxing has become one of the biggest global sports in the world. Champions of the various boxing organizations range from United States, China, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Latvia and Japan among others.
This Friday night, Top Rank Boxing presents a Light Heavyweight unification title bout from Philadelphia between WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk and IBF champ Artur Beterbiev. The fight will be broadcast by ESPN.
Beterbiev, of Russia, has been on a tear as a professional with a spotless 14-0 record with all wins coming by knockout or technical knockout. He is trained by Marc Ramsey out of Montreal, who has had world champions Jean Pascal and David Lemieux in his gym.
Gvozdyk, of Ukraine, is also undefeated at 17-0 with 14 KOs, with four of his last five by stoppage. He is trained by Teddy Atlas. Gvozdyk hired him as head trainer for his first title shot against Adonis Stevenson in December 2018. Gvozdyk won the title by knockout in the 11th round.
Currently the best line on Gvozdyk the favorite is -120 at William Hill. The best price on Beterbiev sits at +110 at CG Technology. There is no round total.
Both men have around the same number of amateur fights and still seem to be learning on the job, that said, they both have world titles in under 18 professional fights, no easy task.
Watching tape on both fighters, each shows holes defensively. Beterbiev was knocked down in the second round against outmatched Callum Johnson. Beterbiev stopped the challenger in round four of an action-packed fight.
Back in 2016, in a fight against Tommy Karpency, Gvozdyk hit the deck in round one but would go on to rally and stop Karpency in the sixth.
Both guys like to swing for the fences which leads me to believe the fighter that is more disciplined will win this fight. What that means for me is trusting that the trainers have their fighters ready. Atlas doesn’t just take any fighter. He has turned down many fighters because of their lack of commitment before the training even begins. If he believes in Gvozdyk it’s good enough for me. GVOZDYK
UFC on ESPN
UFC on ESPN 6 takes place from Boston this Friday on ESPN2. The event is headlined by a massive light heavyweight fight between unbeaten No.4 ranked Dominick Reyes and No.8 ranked Chris Weidman.
Also on the card is a featherweight clash between Yair Rodriguez vs. Jeremy Stephens which was a no contest back on September 21 as the main event of the Mexico City card. So, think of it as two main events in one night.
Back to the headliner, some good trash talk started brewing in this one so both fighters should be ready to go come Friday. Reyes (11-0, 6 KOs, 2 SUBs) had a tough outing last time against Volkan Oezdemir but won a razor close split decision. Prior to that, Reyes was victorious in a workman decision over Ovince Saint Pruex. Those two decisions came after a six-fight win streak with all fights ending in round one (three of them in the UFC).
Weidman (14-4, 6 KOs, 4 SUBs) is looking to get back into the title hunt after moving up from middleweight and is in the worst stretch of his career, losing four of his last five at 185 pounds.
Considering the losing trend and move up in class, the bookmakers are respecting Weidman’s experience level. Reyes sits as the favorite -150 at William Hill, with the takeback on Weidman at +140 at Caesars.
While Reyes lacks experience with the two-quality light heavyweights he has been in the ring with lately, I will take a shot on Reyes by KO. All of Weidman’s losses at middleweight came via KO and I don’t see him being able to move up and handle the power of a true light heavyweight fighter. REYES