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Arum: Gvozdyk Best Light Heavyweight in the World, Ward Included

By Keith Idec

Bob Arum wasn’t just trying to sell a pay-per-view show Wednesday.

The Hall-of-Fame promoter prone to embellishment also took the unsolicited opportunity to hype up a fighter who’s not even on his card Saturday night in Carson, California. While praising manager Egis Klimas and preparing to announce several promising prospects on Saturday’s undercard, Arum claimed that Oleksandr Gvozdyk has surpassed Andre Ward as the best light heavyweight in boxing.

Ukraine’s Gvozdyk (13-0, 11 KOs) is less than two weeks removed from the most impressive victory of his three-year pro career. The 2012 Olympic bronze medalist annihilated Cuban contender Yunieski Gonzalez (18-3, 14 KOs) in what was supposed to be a tough test for Gvozdyk, who floored Gonzalez twice on his way to a third-round technical knockout win April 8 at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

oleksandr-gvozdyk_2

Gvozdyk’s win was widely praised throughout the boxing industry, though obviously not enough to surpass such elite light heavyweights as Ward (31-0, 15 KOs), who owns the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, former champion Sergey Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs).

“Egis constantly surprises us,” Arum said during a press conference to promote Saturday’s card. “I knew right from the get-go what a great fighter Vasyl Lomachenko would be, and was as an amateur. But then this young man, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, the light heavyweight, was on the same card. He’s been fighting for us. Undefeated, and knocked out a guy who was supposed to give him fits, if not beat him, in the third round. And Gvozdyk, in my opinion, with all due respect to my dear friend, Andre Ward, I believe that Gvozdyk is the best light heavyweight in the world.

“So if Egis talks about a fighter, and says how good the fighter is and will be, I just tell all you guys, listen, because the man knows what he’s talking about.”

Ward, incidentally, co-manages Shakur Stevenson, the Olympic silver medalist who’ll make his pro debut on Saturday’s card at StubHub Center. Stevenson is set to oppose Phoenix’s Edgar Brito (3-2-1, 2 KOs) in a six-round featherweight fight that’ll start a four-bout pay-per-view telecast ($54.95 in HD; 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

In the main event Saturday night, Mexico’s Oscar Valdez (21-0, 19 KOs) is scheduled to defend his WBO world featherweight title against Colombia’s Miguel Marriaga (25-1, 21 KOs), Valdez’s mandatory challenger.

The co-featured fight will match Mexico’s Gilberto Ramirez (34-0, 24 KOs), the WBO world super middleweight champion, against Ukraine’s Max Bursak (33-4-1, 15 KOs). The other televised fight will pit WBO world super bantamweight champion Jessie Magdaleno (24-0, 17 KOs), of Las Vegas, against Brazil’s Adeilson Dos Santos (18-2, 14 KOs).

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by The Akbar One on 04-20-2017

[QUOTE=Mr. Luthor;17606644]They were Super Middleweights for a reason. They were world champions because they earned those titles. Most of the Light Heavyweights you've mentioned have not even earned the right to be mentioned with former world champions and HOFers. The…

Comment by Mr. Luthor on 04-20-2017

[QUOTE=The Akbar One;17606612]Stop the excuses, they weren't that good. Don't put Froch, and Kessler in the same sentence as Ward, and Kovalev, that is disrespectful. Froch and Kessler were a product of a weak division. They both lost wide decision…

Comment by The Akbar One on 04-20-2017

[QUOTE=Mr. Luthor;17606553]Froch, Kessler, etc weren't Light Heavyweights. Furthermore, the current crop of Light Heavyweights haven't accomplished anything yet to even be in the conversation with boxers like Kovalev, Ward, Froch, Kessler, etc. Too early to compare prospects to champions.[/QUOTE] Stop…

Comment by jonnyc420 on 04-20-2017

Sorry Arum but the two best LHWs are Kovalev and Ward and it is not even close.

Comment by LOCOMEX89 on 04-20-2017

Gvozdyk is a damn Good fighter but to say he's the best is in a stacked division is way to early and unproven. He has beaten guys that others have already beaten and are solid gatekeepers. Put him in their…

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