Benavidez vs Gvozdyk for WBC Title Shot at Light Heavyweight in June

By Rob Smith - 02/22/2024 - Comments

David Benavidez will fight former WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozyk for the interim and mandatory position at 175 in June.

It’s a move that Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) had hinted about recently when he said that if he couldn’t get a title shot against undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez, he would go up to 175.

Canelo revealed last week that he won’t be fighting Benavidez in 2024, leaving him with no other option but to move to 175. If Benavidez had stayed at 168, he’d have been waiting with no guarantee that Canelo would ever fight him.

WBC Paves the Path

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman reports Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) and Gvozyk (20-1, 16 KOs) will battle for the interim WBC title. The winner will be the mandatory challenger to face the winner of the June 1st fight between IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and WBA champ Dmitry Bivol.

Boxing fans on social have mixed reactions about Benavidez abandoning his efforts to get a fight against Canelo. Many of them are blaming the WBC for their failure to force Canelo to fight Benavidez, but without realizing that there’s no way that the sanctioning body could have forced him to take that fight.

Easier Title Shots at 175?

Things should be a lot easier for Benavidez to get a title shot against the Beterbiev vs. Bivol winner, as they won’t attempt to avoid him, especially if the Saudis are offering massive amounts of money.

It will be tougher for Benavidez to win at 175 against Bivol or Benavidez because he won’t have the enormous size advantage in this weight class like he’d been enjoying his entire 11-year career fighting at 168.

Youth and a Formidable Foe

What the 27-year-old Benavidez does going for him is youth. He’s considerably younger than the 38-year-old Beterbiev, so that could help him if the two fight for the undisputed.

The former WBC light heavyweight champion Gvozyk will be a formidable foe for Benavidez, because this punches hard, has excellent technical skills, and is better than the fighters he’s been facing during his career. Gvozyk would likely beat everyone Benavidez has fought during his career and have a similar record.

If Benavidez loses to Gvozyk, he will have to make a big decision about where he goes next. Does he stay at 175 or move back down to 168 to continue to enjoy the size advantage he’s accustomed to having?