Tuesday, March 20, 2018  |


Oleksandr Gvozdyk-Eleider Alvarez off after Canadian withdraws from eliminator

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank

OXNARD, Calif. — The four-man, light heavyweight de facto mini tournament set up by the WBC is no more.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk was scheduled to face Eleider Alvarez in a 175-pound title eliminator, with a purse bid scheduled for Friday, but that’s no longer taking place. Alvarez and his team notified the WBC on Wednesday they were withdrawing from the fight, and now Gvozdyk is left scrambling to find an interim opponent.

The winner was set to earn a title shot against the victor of the light heavyweight title matchup between Adonis Stevenson, the lineal champ, and Badou Jack, scheduled for March in Canada.

Gvozdyk was training at manager Egis Klimas’ gym, the Boxing Laboratory, when the news came down.

“Yesterday, (the fight) was supposed to happen, and today, it’s not going to happen,” Gvozdyk told RingTV.com after sparring four rounds with WBC super middleweight titleholder David Benavidez. ” … The biggest fight of my life is coming, so it’s exciting. I just train hard. It’s motivating me to work harder in the gym.”

Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 knockouts) remains in line to fight for the title, but now, the particulars will need to be worked out. He’ll return on a Top Rank on ESPN undercard sometime in March, Gvozdyk said, as he prepares for his first world title opportunity.

And that’s what makes Alvarez’s decision so puzzling. But then again, Alvarez has been in position to fight countryman Stevenson for the title for more than two years, but time and again, he accepted step aside fees to allow Adonis to defend his title against other opposition.

“Having a title is a profitable thing in professional boxing,” said Gvozdyk, 30. “Of course I want to get a title and earn more money. I don’t know why (he withdrew).

” … People try to get the most possible money with less risks so that’s why it happens.”

It appears boxing politics have once again halted an attractive matchup, with Gvozdyk promoted by Top Rank and Alvarez aligned with Al Haymon.

Gvozdyk, an Olympic bronze medalist from Ukraine, quickly established himself in one of boxing’s best divisions over the 14 months (RING No. 4), with stoppage victories over durable veteran Isaac Chilemba, Yunieski Gonzalez and most recently, Craig Baker.

So now he waits, and hopes that he’ll eventually be lined up for the shot at either Stevenson or Jack, both of whom are also advised by Haymon.

Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger

  • michael

    My heart went to Alvarez for getting sidetracked. He did get to big fights against Bute & Pascal,but this unacceptable to do after the fights is agreed upon.

  • Luca Blight

    Eleider “No Balls” Alvarez

    • Ten Count Toronto

      Yeah. Unless they can show evidence of a major health reason for pulling out, this is completely inexcusable and must be considered to shed new light on his eternal unconsummated mandatory shot for which Stevenson was accused of ducking Alvarez, it must now be concluded that Alvarez’ was at the very least a willing collaborator to the fight not taking place.

      • Luca Blight

        I guess Gvosdyk isn’t worth the risk for him. Hence, the ‘No Balls’ naming.

  • Droeks Malan

    Alvarez shouldn’t have to fight Gvozdyk or anyone else in an eliminator. His shot at Stevenson is waay overdue and should now be enforced after Stevenson-Jack.

    • Andy T

      If you you want to be classed as the best in the division you fight Gvozdyk

    • Maksym Minenko

      And if you want to fight Stevenson you don’t take step aside money.

    • Cashtime

      True that. At this point it’s a good possibility he could lose which would be a major waste. politics, politics, politics. Step aside fees should absolutely not be allowed. Either you fight when your eligible or let the next guy get his shot.

  • Stephen M

    I think that Yvon Michel has lost his grip on his fighters.

  • Left Hook2

    Puzzling. I won’t berate him because I do not know all of the circumstances, but from the outside looking in, this looks weak. I understand that he has been mandatory for some time, but he has also been willing to step aside. I won’t be surprised if he threatens a lawsuit and gets his shot at Jack/Duckenson anyway.

    • Maksym Minenko

      Yeah, a lawsuit after all those step aside money. The judges will be impressed, I’m sure. 🙂

    • Stephen M

      Not sure how we got here anyway. At first Gvozdyk was supposed to fight Smith to be the#2 mandatory, and then it was going to be Browne. Alvarez was supposed to be #1 mandatory in waiting. And then somehow he was fighting Gvozdyk, and then not. I’m soooo confused!

  • ceylon mooney

    175 is as big a jerkoff as 147

  • Johnny Albo

    i mean al haymon rather have his semi-somebodys fighting his own nobodies, than semi-somebodys fighting real somebodys like gvozdyk and getting knock the f out, so not surprsed. al haymon ruins boxing again.

  • Maksym Minenko

    First Browne and now Alvarez. Gvozdyk moves up, chickens run away. 🙂

  • John Newman

    I wonder if Alvarez and the PBC are even going to bother to explain this, or just pay on the sly have the WBC keep him in the catbird seat so Chickenson can continue to hold the belt.