David Benavidez is set to return to the light heavyweight division this Saturday, June 15th, against former WBC and lineal light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk at the legendary MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The match will be for the WBC interim light heavyweight championship and co-headlines the Gervonta Davis versus Frank Martin fight card.

Benavidez had a few light heavyweight matches early in his career when he fought 6 and 8 rounders against Ricardo Campillo and Felipe Romero respectively. At yesterday’s media workout Benavidez stated he feels much stronger and faster at this weight class.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk (20-1, 16 KOs) is a technical boxer with an Olympic pedigree; he captured the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics. He defeated Adonis Stevenson to capture the WBC and lineal championship and then challenged Artur Beterbiev to 10 rounds until being defeated in that round by knockout.

Oleksandr has good power and a style that could pose challenges for Benavidez. Caleb Plant had limited success against Benavidez by boxing on the outside; Gvozdyk is bigger and stronger and can potentially box on the outside much more effectively than Plant did.

Can he absorb and withstand David’s punches? Benavidez is a combination puncher who breaks his opponents down round by round. Plant had success early in the match, winning the early rounds and holding Benavidez to single digits in terms of connected punches in 4 of the first 5 rounds.

Gvozdyk boxed on the outside with some effectiveness in the early rounds of his match against Artur Beterbiev. In that bout, he equaled Beterbiev’s total landed punches at 79 through the first 6 rounds (Compubox). Benavidez has demonstrated some difficulties with mobility.

Although he has vastly improved in this area, his mobility is his greatest weakness, this is the one area Oleksandr can attempt to exploit. Gvozdyk must utilize the entire ring employing lateral movement, utilizing his slight reach advantage (75.5) by throwing the jab at long range, and staying disciplined with in-and-out movement for the entire 12 round match. Can Gvozdyk employ this strategy for the entire match? At 37, he may find himself unable to execute it.

David Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) looks primed and ready to challenge the best in the light heavyweight division. Possible matches against Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol may be on the horizon, but first, he must get through Gvozdyk.

He faces a legitimate threat and must not take Gvozdyk lightly. Benavidez must target the body early to slow Gvozdyk down. If Oleksandr

intends to box on the outside, Benavidez must place his customary pressure, cut the ring effectively, and punish him with his blistering combinations. Benavidez must be much more defensively sound at this division as the boxers are bigger and stronger, a timed counter can be damaging.

Similar to what he experienced against Ronald Gavril when he suffered a flash knockdown via a counter. If he’s able to pressure him effectively, Benavidez should be able to break Gvozdyk down and earn the victory.

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