By: Hans Themistode
Two belts were on the line this past Friday night, at the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia Pennsylvania.
Center stage stood Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) and Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs). Their contest would not only decide a unified champion in the Light Heavyweight division, but it would also give credence to the winner as the best that the division has to offer.
It was your classic puncher vs. boxer contest, as Beterbiev had never seen the end of a contest, stopping each of his previous opponents inside of the distance. Gvozdyk on the other hand, had plenty of power in his own right but was known as the boxer between the two.
The opening few rounds saw Gvozdyk stay on the outside and box. He in no way wanted to turn this matchup into a slug fest. Beterbiev however, wanted exactly that.
Gvozdyk looked good early on. His boxing abilities were on full display, but Beterbiev was getting closer and closer as the rounds went by. As the contest went on, the ring began to get smaller and smaller for Gvozdyk. It was only a matter of time before Beterbiev would land his mark. He did exactly as previously stated in the tenth round. Gvozdyk was dropped not once, but three times in the round, forcing the referee to put an end to the matchup.
Beterbiev didn’t just wrap an extra title around his already gold minted waist, but he also sent a message to the rest of the division.
One man who seen the performance by Beterbiev and was impressed by it, was current WBA belt holder Dmitry Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs).
The undefeated belt holder has long been awaiting his turn for a big fight. With a new unified champion in the division, he made it clear that he is more than willing to make that fight happen.
“Of course, there is a desire to fight Beterbiev,” said Bivol. “The fact that he now has two belts will intrigue me.”
The possibility of adding more belts to his collection isn’t the only thing that is interesting to Bivol. The performance that Beterbiev put on display was eye catching. Unlike other fighters who might run away from such a difficult challenge, Bivol is inviting it.
“Beterbiev showed that he can work very well and that he is well prepared for this kind of event,” said Bivol as he gushed over Beterbiev’s performance. “Gvozdyk started well, and there were ideas to neutralize Beterbiev’s right hand. And in the middle of the fight, Beterbiev even seemed to be tired. However, several serious punches to the body created serious damage to Gvozdyk.”
Fans that are currently skeptical of these two champions ever meeting in the ring have nothing to fear.
“We’ll see what happens with Gvozdyk-Beterbiev,” said Bivol’s promoter Eddie Hearn before the Gvozdyk vs Beterbiev contest took place. “I would have no problem putting him in with the winner of that fight. If they wanna do it on ESPN, no problem at all, because I think it’s the right fight. I want Dmitry Bivol to actually achieve a legacy in this sport, and to do that, you’ve gotta be in those kinds of fights.”
With the promotional side of things seemingly out of the way, fans can see a possible showdown between Bivol and Beterbiev take place, sooner rather than later.