Former light heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk made a triumphant return to the 175 pound division last month with a 6th round knockout win over Latvian slugger Ricards Bolotniks.
The fight took place on the Canelo Alvarez Vs John Ryder undercard in Guadalajara, Mexico. The win puts the Ukrainian back in the mix for a chance to become a two-time world champion re-establishing himself in the top 10 of the WBA and WBC rankings.
“It was super cool.” Gvozdyk said of his recent win in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “I was really excited after the fight because it was my first significant victory after my so-called retirement. I’m not really counting my fight with Josue Obando, it wasn’t a fight I was meant to be happy about. But this guy Bolotniks I know is a decent fighter, so to beat him gave me a lot of joy. The knockout wasn’t planned, it never is, if it comes it comes, that is how I fight. It’s exactly what happened in Guadalajara, if I see them wobble I will go for the finish.”
After a tentative a slow start from Gvozdyk (19-1, 15 KOs) he went threw the gears to stop the Latvian in commanding fashion. A tune up with the little known Obando preceded the Ukrainian’s comeback after over three years outside the ring. Gvozdyk lost his title to Artur Beterbiev previously in 2019, many thought it spelled the end for his career.
“I met with Eddie Hearn personally after the fight, they said they will try and get me a fight for a WBA eliminator.” Gvozdyk continued. “I do know Joshua Buatsi is number 1 in the ranking at the moment. I think that would be a great fight. But it's nothing personal against Buatsi or anyone, I’m looking at who's in the rankings. I don’t have any specific desire to fight him exactly, it’s just I want to be number 1 in the WBA to win a world title.
“I do understand that the champion is kind of busy, but I can at least be number 1 and wait for my opportunity to get a world title shot again. All the British guys in the division are pretty tough, I would love to fight one of them. I like the UK and I like London, so it’s no problem for me to come over there.”
Gvozdyk’s Ukraine is currently in the midst of a brutal war with neighboring Russia invading the country last year. It is a situation that has crossed over into boxing, the WBC removing all Russian and Belarusian fighters from its ranking. Title fights with all governing bodies saw a blanket ban on all title fights taking place in Russia also.
The 175 pound division is shared between Russian’s Beterbiev and Bivol, the latter has found himself under certain restrictions from the WBC blocking a long-awaited unification. Beterbiev’s Canadian citizenship has seen him come under much less scrutiny from the governing body. Gvozdyk’s most desired bout posing a political problem.
“Bivol is who I am targeting right now.” Gvozdyk stated firmly. “Listen! We are going to have a fight, we are not going to play, we are going to fight which is not a problem for me. Our soldiers fight in the battle field, I’m doing this in the ring. I will try to hit him and try to damage him, I don’t think this is supposed to be a problem.
“There are a lot of these views that the Russian fighters are supposed to be disqualified because of their citizenship. You know, I’m not an organisation, I’m not a guy who is incharge to make this type of decision. If there is opportunity to fight one of these guys, like I said, I’m not going to play with them, I’m going to fight with them which is totally okay for me.”
I hit Gvozdyk with, do you think Russian boxers should be banned?
“I was finally home in Ukraine recently for four or five days. It was cool, I love Ukraine and it’s nice to visit my country. I was in the capital, unfortunately I couldn’t go to my city. Things in Kharkiv are still not good. Hopefully I can go on my next visit. ”
Curiously enough, Gvozdyk was drafted into Canelo’s camp for the Bivol showdown last year. It has proved to be a real door opener with the Ukrainian’s services available on the open market.
“The situation has not changed, I’m still working with Eddy Reynoso as my manager.” Gvozdyk added. “We will see how it goes, maybe I win another good fight and Eddie Hearn will sign me up, but for now I’m a free agent and looking for opportunities. For me it is good I’m a free agent, it gives some leverage. Although I don’t think I have all the interest back in myself in the boxing world yet. If I fight one of these top guys in the UK it will create some interest and maybe a promoter gives me a proposal. Right now I’m a free agent. Canelo asked me to help him for the Bivol rematch.”