By Jake Donovan
Deep in the heart of the Major League Baseball postseason, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Artur Beterbiev are set for a fall classic of their own kind.
The pair of unbeaten light heavyweights are set to collide in a title unification clash tentatively set for October 18 on an ESPN platform.
“I have great news! I signed a contract for a unifying bout with [Oleksandr] Gvozdyk,” Beterbiev (14-0, 14KOs) revealed through social media on Wednesday. “Two belts will be at stake, the IBF and WBC!”
A location has yet to be confirmed for the venue, as BoxingScene.com has learned the suggested fight date is fluid. There remains a possibility of the fight also landing on October 11 or October 25, depending on where in the United States the fight takes place.
Whatever the case, it’s a pairing of two of the very best light heavyweights in the world, both coming off of ESPN-televised knockout wins.
Gvozdyk (17-0, 14KOs) will make the second defense of his WBC—and World (lineal)—championship with the fight.
The 2012 Olympic Bronze medalist from Ukraine scored a 5th round stoppage of Doudou Ngumbu this past March in front of a sold out crowd at the intimate 2300 Arena in Philadelphia, Penn. The bout marked the first defense of the championship he claimed in an 11th round stoppage of Adonis Stevenson last December.
A career-best feat, it was not without its tragic consequences. Stevenson was rushed to the hospital to undergo emergency surgery for a brain bleed, only having recently since shown significant signs of recovery.
Gvozdyk will enter the fight having scored knockout wins in in 10 of his past 11 starts. It’s still not as impressive as his opponent’s level of perfection in that domain.
Beterbiev (14-0, 14KOs) has literally been a knockout every time out in the pro ranks, a run he attributes to fighting at a lighter weight than during the amateurs. The two-time Olympian from Russia—who now lives and trains in Montreal, Canada—has not only stopped all 14 of his opponents to date, but has only been extended past round seven just once in his six-year career.
That moment came in his first title fight win, scoring a 12th round stoppage of Enrico Koelling in a Nov. 2017 ESPN-aired bout. The win was part of a brutal run where he was fighting just once per year due to promotional and managerial issues. They’ve since been resolved as he signed with Top Rank and ESPN earlier this year.
His return to the platform came this past May, when he stopped Radivoje Kalajdzic in the 5th round of their May 4th headliner in Stockton, Calif.
After the bout, Beterbiev, 34, called out all of the titlists at light heavyweight. His wish came true in a big way.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox