WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman reports that David Benavidez will move up to 175 to face Oleksandr Gvozyk for the WBC interim and mandatory light heavyweight title in June.

With a win over the former Gvozyk (20-1, 16 KOs), Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) will be the WBC mandatory to face the winner of the June 1st fight between IBF/WBC/WBO champion Artur Beterbiev and WBA champ Dmitry Bivol.

Payday and a Path to Undisputed Glory

It’s a smart move for Benavidez. With the Saudis offering big money for fights in their country, he can get a massive payday fighting the Beterbiev vs. Bivol fight winner in Saudi Arabia.

Staying at 168 would be a dead end for the 27-year-old Benavidez, as he’s already learned that undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez has ruled out fighting him in 2024, and it would be a pointless gamble for him to assume that he’ll get a chance to fight the Mexican superstar in 2025.

Benavidez and his dad, trainer Jose Sr., should have gotten a clue a long time ago that Canelo had no intention of ever fighting him.

If Benavidez had moved up to 175 a year or two ago, he would have already fought WBA light heavyweight champion Bivol and likely beaten him. Benavidez would be facing Beterbiev for the undisputed 175-lb championship in June instead of Bivol.

Benavidez has been putting his body through the wringer to melt down to 168, and it hasn’t paid off because he’s only fought two notable opponents during his 11-year professional career, Caleb Plant and Demetrius Andrade.

Now that Benavidez has beaten both of those guys, the only guy left is 26-year-old David Morrell Jr., and that would be a very dangerous fight for him that wouldn’t pay the kind of money he could make by fighting the winner of the Beterbiev-Bivol fight in Saudi Arabia.

A New Chapter for Benavidez

The former WBC light heavyweight champion Gvozyk retired after his 10th-round knockout loss to Beterbiev in 2019. Gvozyk came out of retirement in 2023 and has won three consecutive fights, beating Isaac Rodrigues, Ričards Bolotņiks, and Josue Obando.

Benavidez will likely be the favorite to defeat the 36-year-old Gvozyk, but this won’t be a sure thing win. Gvozhk can punch, and he has technical skills, having won a bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics. Gvozyhk defeated the monstrous puncher Adonis Stevenson by an 11th-round knockout in a fight that had a tragic ending in 2018.

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