David Benavidez vs. Oleksandr Gvozdyk: Benavidez Makes 175-Pound Debut Against Former Champ

By Tim Smith - 05/14/2024 - No comments

Co-headlining the Davis – Martin event is the all-action star and two-time world champion David Benavidez, who’s making his light heavyweight debut against power-punching former champ Oleksandr Gvozdyk. They’ll be slugging it out in a 12-round brawl for the vacant Interim WBC Light Heavyweight Title.

Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs), 27, enters the ring after dominating 2023 with a couple of victories. First, he put Caleb Plant through the wringer in March, winning by unanimous decision, then delivered a six-round beatdown to the previously unbeaten Demetrius Andrade in November. Benavidez became the youngest 168-pound world champ at just 20 years old when he squeezed past Ronald Gavril for the vacant WBC title in 2017. Hailing from Phoenix, now living in Seattle and training in Miami, the guy left his mark in the super middleweight division but is ready to pack his bags for light heavyweight.

At 15, Benavidez shed 250 pounds to transform into a boxing prodigy under the guidance of his father, Jose Sr., and brother Jose Jr. He even sparred with middleweight champs Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin as a teenager. The man brought a six-fight knockout streak into the Plant bout, including KOs of former champs Anthony Dirrell and David Lemieux.

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“I’m very excited to be going to the light heavyweight division to compete against the best 175-pound fighters,” Benavidez said. “I’ve been eyeing that division for a long time, and now I feel like it’s my time. I’m going to go unify the division. I’ve watched Gvozdyk for a long time – I know exactly how he fights. I actually sparred him when I was 20 years old, and I know he’s a really tough opponent, so I need to be 100%. This is a hard fight, but I’m going to make it look easy.”

Gvozdyk (20-1, 16 KOs) grabbed a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics for Ukraine, turned pro in 2014, and started stomping through veterans like Yunieski Gonzalez, Isaac Chilemba, Tommy Karpency, and Nadjib Mohammedi to become the WBC’s top contender at 175 pounds. He snagged the WBC belt by knocking out Adonis Stevenson in the 11th round and defended it in 2019 by stopping Doudou Ngumbu in the fifth.

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After losing the title in a unification fight to Artur Beterbiev, Gvozdyk returned in 2023 to rack up three wins. He schooled Josue Obando in February, KO’d Ricards Bolotniks in May, and knocked out Isaac Rodrigues in September. Now living and training in California, Gvozdyk competed in over 250 amateur bouts, including winning three Ukrainian National Championships before going pro.

“I’ve never avoided any challenges, and this is no exception,” Gvozdyk said, probably while cracking his knuckles. “Benavidez is a top-caliber fighter, and that’s exactly what motivates me to train hard each day. If you want to be the best, you have to fight the best. I’m ready to become a champion once again.”

Event Details

  • Date: June 15, 2024
  • Time:
    • USA (ET): 8 PM Main Card, 11 PM Main Event
    • UK (BST): 1 AM Main Card, 4 AM Main Event
  • Venue: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Streaming: Prime Video PPV

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