By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Oleksandr Gvozdyk expressed skepticism about what will happen if he defeats Mehdi Amar on Saturday night.
The WBC has informed the unbeaten light heavyweight contender, a heavy favorite over Amar, that if he wins Saturday night he’ll earn a shot at the winner between WBC light heavyweight champ Adonis Stevenson and Badou Jack in his following fight. Quebec’s Stevenson and Sweden’s Jack are scheduled to meet May 19 at Bell Centre in Montreal.
“First of all, let’s make this fight happen [against the Stevenson-Jack winner], and then we can talk about it,” Gvodzyk told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Thursday in Manhattan. “Because, you know, I hope the WBC is really a responsible organization and they’re gonna keep their word. I hope if I’m gonna win this fight they’re really gonna make my next fight against the winner of the upcoming fight, Stevenson against Badou Jack. I’m unsure.”
When asked why he is unsure, Ukraine’s Gvodzyk cited historical precedent.
“You can take a look at history, and it’s already happened a lot of times,” Gvozdyk said. “You can be sure you’re gonna fight only when you stand in the ring.”
If he defeats France’s Amar in a fight ESPN will televise from The Theater at Madison Square Garden, Gvodzyk will root for Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) to upset Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs).
“The WBC has sanctioned that the winner of their fight is supposed to make a mandatory defense against the winner of our fight [within] 90 days [after May 19],” Gvozdyk said. “I would prefer Badou Jack is the winner because Stevenson doesn’t fight more than once a year. I think there’s more of a chance to fight Badou Jack.”
For now, Gvozdyk (14-0, 12 KOs) is focused on overcoming Amar (34-5-2, 16 KOs).
“You know, I don’t wanna run ahead of this fight,” Gvozdyk said. “Let’s fight Saturday, and then we’ll see. First, I have my obstacle. Then we can see. Then we can talk about it.”
The unknown Amar hasn’t beaten a top light heavyweight during his 14-year pro career.
In his most recent meaningful fight, Amar lost a 12-round unanimous decision to Germany’s Robert Stieglitz (50-5-2, 29 KOs) in November 2016. Amar also has been stopped by fellow Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi (39-5, 23 KOs), who was knocked out in the second round by Gvozdyk in April 2016.
“I saw several of his fights,” Gvozdyk said. “He’s a very good boxer. I can see in his eyes he came here not to just go home with nothing. He’s gonna do his best in the ring to get a title. I’m expecting a big challenge from him.”
The Gvozdyk-Amar match will air before ESPN’s main event between Amir Imam and Jose Ramirez on Saturday night (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT). Imam (21-1, 18 KOs), of Albany, New York, and Ramirez (21-0, 16 KOs), of Avenal, California, will fight for the vacant WBC super lightweight title.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.