Monday, July 22, 2024  |


Oleksandr Gvozdyk-Eleider Alvarez off after Canadian withdraws from eliminator

Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank
Fighters Network

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 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 Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger