David Benavidez was not interested in a feel-out fight for his 175-pound debut.

Benavidez will challenge former lineal and WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk, a 2012 Ukrainian Olympic bronze medalist, on June 15.

The fight will be the co-main event of the Gervonta Davis vs. Frank Martin fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, which will be broadcast on Prime Video and PPV.com.

The interim WBC light heavyweight title will be on the line, and the winner will be in prime position to face the victor of the Oct. 12 undisputed title fight between Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. 

Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) was supposed to get his own PBC main event billing in June, but he received a call from agent Luis Decubas with the idea to tag-team with “Tank.” 

“The Mexican Monster” jumped at the offer to form a dynamic knock-out duo with a combined 89 per cent KO rate between them.

“It’s a big opportunity for me and a special treat for the fans to have two of the most devastating punchers in boxing fighting on the same card,” Benavidez told BoxingScene. “I’m very excited to have this fight. I get to perform in front of his fans, and he gets to perform in front of my fans. It’s going to be a victory for boxing overall.”

Gvozdyk (20-1, 16 KOs) is managed by Alvarez’s coach Eddy Reynoso, and has sparred with the Mexican star as well. Benavidez figures that if he can’t get Alvarez to fight him, he might as well try to land the next closest thing to the undisputed super middleweight champion. 

“Gvozdyk is a tough fighter,” said Benavidez. “I’m 100 per cent focused on this fight. Whatever happens, we’ll figure it out when the time comes. I’m just thinking about June 15. We’ve been training extremely hard. I’m very excited to steal the show and make another splash.”

While Benavidez, 27, had a breakthrough 2023 campaign beating Caleb Plant and Demetrius Andrade, Gvozdyk, 37, returned from a three-year retirement last year following his 2019 knockout loss to Beterbiev to score three wins. 

“If I’m thinking he’s old, not the fighter he was, and he’s injured, I won’t motivate myself 100 percent to get the best version of myself,” said Benavidez. 

“I have to train like this guy is going to be the strongest, fastest, and most relentless guy I faced. That’s what I am getting ready for. It might be different in the fight and I go in there and clean him out easily in two rounds. I am preparing myself for the best possible outcome.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on X (formerly Twitter), Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or via www.ManoukAkopyan.com.

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