By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Oleksandr Gvozdyk wants to challenge whoever wins the Adonis Stevenson-Badou Jack fight as soon as possible.
The newly crowned WBC interim light heavyweight champion can’t quite decide, though, who he thinks will emerge victorious when Stevenson defends his WBC 175-pound championship against Jack on May 19 in Montreal.
Gvozdyk considers Jack a legitimate threat to end Stevenson’s reign, but he isn’t certain whether the two-division champion can withstand Stevenson’s vaunted power.
“Honestly, for me it really depends what shape Stevenson is in right now,” Gvodzyk told BoxingScene.com. “Because this guy is 40 years old, he hasn’t stayed active enough and Badou Jack is a really tough fighter. I would say if Stevenson is in his best condition, I would take Stevenson.
“But this is a big question now because we didn’t see him for a while. He doesn’t fight often and at his age, he doesn’t live in the gym. He’s just enjoying his life. Age is coming really fast. I don’t know what will happen with him. We will see.”
The Haitian-born, Quebec-based Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) hasn’t fought since demolishing Poland’s Andzrej Fonfara (29-5, 17 KOs, 1 NC) in the second round of their rematch June 3 at Montreal’s Bell Centre, the same site as his fight against Jack. Sweden’s Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs), a former WBC super middleweight champ, is considered the powerful southpaw’s most imposing opponent since he knocked out Chad Dawson to win his title in June 2013.
“Badou Jack just moved up in weight, but Stevenson’s not that big of a guy,” Gvozdyk said. “He also came up. We’ll see.”
Ukraine’s Gvozdyk (15-0, 12 KOs), who defeated France’s Mehdi Amar (34-6-2, 16 KOs) by unanimous decision to win the WBC’s interim light heavyweight title Saturday night in The Theater at Madison Square Garden, hopes Jack upsets Stevenson because he believes that would afford him a title shot sooner. Stevenson has fought just three times since April 2015, and the 30-year-old Gvozdyk doesn’t want to wait too long to fight for the WBC title.
Bob Arum, Gvozdyk’s promoter, wants to keep him active if his mandated championship match doesn’t materialize soon after May 19.
“Well, if it does take time, we have a lot of dates [on ESPN],” Arum said. “We can certainly accommodate Gvozdyk. I’m not gonna let him sit around while waiting for these guys to finish, and then fight him. I mean, the one luxury we have now, being the producer for ESPN, is we have dates.
“So the idea that fighters are gonna sit around and fight once a year, that’s nonsense. I mean, anyone of any kind of ability that we have is gonna fight at least three times a year.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.