3 minutes read

David Benavidez To Move Up And Face Gvozdyk For Vacant WBC 175 Lbs Interim Title In June

David Benavidez To Move Up And Face Gvozdyk For WBC 175 Lbs Interim Title featured image
David Benavidez (R) is set to make a sensational return to light-heavyweight as he faces former WBC 175 lbs champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk for the vacant WBC interim title at light-heavyweight. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

David Benavidez is set to return to light-heavyweight after an absence of more than eight years, with former WBC 175 lbs champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk slated to be his opponent. While a venue have yet to be revealed, the match has all but been confirmed with the WBC acknowledging the [vacant] WBC interim light-heavyweight title will be put on the line when the two fighters meet in the ring. Reports further indicate the fight might happen in early June.

It is still unclear why David Benavidez (28-0, 24 KO’s) has chosen to move up, but the lack of opportunities he faces at super middleweight might have spurred him make that decision. Despite there only being one undisputed champion at 168 lbs who holds all the titles in Canelo Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KO’s), David Benavidez has been unable able to land a fight with Alvarez despite being a WBC mandatory challenger and being in possession of the WBC interim super middleweight title.

With the only road towards a world title in his division dependent on Alvarez’ willingness to fight him, it now appears that Benavidez has decided to turn towards another division in an attempt to earn world title glory.

The light-heavyweight division currently boasts two world champions in WBA champion Dmitry Bivol (22-0, 11 KO’s) and WBC, WBO and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KO’s) who are expected to face each other to become undisputed sometime this year. Presumably, Benavidez will have to wait for this undisputed match to occur before he receives a crack at a world title.

Benavidez’ opponent, Ukrainian Oleksandr Gvozdyk (20-1, 16 KO’s), will be an ideal test for Benavidez due to his experience as a world champion before he eventually lost his WBC light-heavyweight title in a unification match with Beterbiev in 2019 [who only held the IBF title at the time]. Despite remaining out of the ring for more than three years following his loss to Beterbiev, Gvozdyk surfaced in 2023 during which he fought thrice and quickly worked his way up the ladder to now become regarded as a viable contender.

With Gvozdyk back in a world title contending position and Benavidez being a former world champion himself with a commendable pedigree he built up over the course of the past couple of years, the two fighters are set to engage in one of the most pivotal fights in the division as the winner will likely be regarded as one of the top light-heavyweight contenders.

While Benavidez might be frustrated at not being able to receive an opportunity to become a world champion at 168 lbs, the 175 lbs division is expected to give him the opportunities that were lacking at super middleweight when Alvarez became the undisputed champion.

According to boxing reporter Dan Rafael, a return for Benavidez to super middleweight can still occur―especially if he’s chosen as Canelo Alvarez’ opponent for May 4th―with his fight at light-heavyweight meant to be a contingency in case he cannot face Alvarez at any point.

For Gvozdyk, he will be angling for a return to the very top following his 2019 loss to Artur Beterbiev which saw him retire afterwards. Both fighters face a tough test against each other, but the rewards that can be imposed provides enough of a stimulus for them to be matched with one another as youth faces experience in one of the 175 lbs division’s most prevalent fights in recent years.