Beterbiev-Gvozdyk Final Press Conference

Photos: Mikey Williams/Top Rank

IBF light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev and WBC light heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk ended their fight promotion obligations Wednesday at the office of Hall of Fame promoter J Russell Peltz. They posed for pictures in front of the fight poster for the legendary 1962 light heavyweight championship fight between Doug Jones and Harold Johnson, which took place at the old Philadelphia Arena.
Gvozdyk Beterbiev Pose
Beterbiev and Gvozdyk will add to the city’s light heavyweight legacy Friday evening at the Liacouras Center, a throwback battle befitting a storied fight city. Before the two combatants posed for photos and faced off at Peltz’s office/museum, they participated in a media roundtable. This is what they had to say.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk

On working with Teddy Atlas

“Teddy demands a lot of his fighters, and I am fine with that. Training camp is supposed to be hard, and we worked together to come up with the necessary game plan to beat Beterbiev.”

“Teddy is very picky, very particular, and this is what you need. Sometimes, you cannot right yourself. Sometimes, you think you’re too tired, sometimes you want to work more, but Teddy knows exactly what you’re supposed to do. And there is no place for argument. First of all, he is a good person because when I met him, I realized that. Like I’ve said a lot of times before, this type of person is already under extinction, probably even non-existent anymore. From his professional qualities, besides his qualities as a human being, he’s very smart, he has over 40 years in this business, and he never loses any small details, which is really important.”

“First of all, my dream is to become undisputed champion. This is the first step, and this is the necessary step. And the second thing is, this is what fans like to see. They don’t want to see champions fight some opponents or journeymen. Tough fights, which fans like to see. For me, it’s a big challenge.”

“For now, only one challenge and one opponent exists for me. I’m not even thinking about any other opportunities. Everything is possible in the future. Maybe go up {in weight} or go down. I think it’s possible, maybe hard, but possible. But again, right now, I’m not even thinking about it.”

Teddy Atlas (Gvozdyk’s trainer)

“Camp couldn’t be better. We got to where we want to be. You gotta go in there Friday night and execute, but everything is in place. Couldn’t ask for more.”

On moving training camp to Philadelphia

First of all, we didn’t have to acclimate to the time difference because we’d be in the same time zone, and being that the weather would still be good, there was no problem with training here on the East Coast. Sometimes, you have to worry about bad weather with training on the East Coast. We didn’t have to worry about that. And not having to get on a plane and go across the country on the Sunday before the fight was a nice thing.”

On fighting a big puncher like Beterbiev

“It’s just, again, a reminder that there’s no room for mistakes, that there’s gotta be full concentration for 36 minutes. You have to fight one round at a time, one three-minute round at a time. Not two minutes and 59 seconds, no. Not when you’re in there with a puncher who can change everything in a moment with one punch, as {Adonis} Stevenson almost did in the 10th round. The reason why he’s a champion is because he was able to handle that and was able to survive that. That’s why he’s a champion. You could look at all the other rounds and say he’s a champion because of this, he’s a champion because of that, he gave angles, he used the jab, he punched at the right time. But he’s a champion because, when the moment came, he behaved like a champion.”

“If there are moments to take bigger bites in this fight, we’re going to take them at whatever time that is. If it’s early, it’s early. If it’s late, it’s late. If it’s middle, it’s middle. He’s got great judgment and instincts, and we’ve put that in place, and I know we can depend on that judgment and those instincts when it’s time to take a bite, small or big. We never want to get greedy. You never want to get greedy, especially with a puncher.”

“I think this fight’s a little different than maybe some people envision it. It’s not going to be exactly the same as the Stevenson fight because we have a guy where there’s going to have to be moments… put it this way, there’s going to have to be moments to take bigger bites with this guy. And that doesn’t mean getting sloppy or careless or greedy, but it means what it means.”

Artur Beterbiev

On the amateur fight he won against Gvozdyk

“I think it was two rounds. But I don’t know, I heard Gvozdyk say I broke his nose. I don’t know that. He said that. It was only two rounds.”

Has Gvozdyk changed as a fighter since then?

“I think so. I changed. He changed. Everybody changed. His face changed, too. A little more hair.”

On starting to train in Russia before moving camp to Montreal

“I went to Russia just for vacation, but I wanted to be, like, active. I went to altitude. I used to {train} there when I was an amateur boxer. I had a good camp there. It was like preparation for our camp {in Canada} for eight weeks.”

On his past promotional difficulties and extended layoffs

“It was a difficult time, but I don’t want to talk about the past. I think the future is more happy. It’s hard when you have court and you have to train and be active. It’s hard, but I did that. Now, I have 100 percent time to focus on my fight and my career.”

Marc Ramsay (Beterbiev’s trainer)

“I’m not going to expose my tactics for Friday night today, but the thing is, when you go into a big fight like this, it’s important that you’re not surprised by anything. This is what we prepared for in the gym, technically, tactically, all aspects of boxing, like speed {and} power. We’re going to bring everything to the table on Friday.”

“We asked our management if we could have {unification} fights right away. This is what Artur wants, what I want as a trainer, and everybody wanted to go in this direction. I don’t know what happened behind the scenes, but I know it wasn’t very difficult looking back with this fight on the table. We said ‘yes’ right away, first day {it was offered}.”

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  • This is one of those rare fights with two gifted and talented fighters in their prime, that you wish the best for both of them. may the best man win…

    • I feel the same. Its difficult to take sides here – they are both very impressive and one can only wish them both well.

      It will be tough for the loser of this fight, but whoever it will be, he will bounce back. They are both winners, and I hope they will have long careers.

  • This is going to be a great fight and a nail biter, but I think the nail is going to pull it off by decision. Gvozdyk might get dropped in this fight, but I see him taking a unanimous decision off of Beterbiev. I think the Vegas oddsmakers have it right with their pick.

  • One has to wonder about the Nail’s head. Injuring opponents can ruin a guy. Couple that with a real challenge and this fight is a no bet for me.

    However, it’s a MUST watch! I cant believe it’s on regular ESPN.

  • All I can say is don’t blink, someone is going to be K.O d. I think Gvorzdyk will stop Beterbiev, but I wouldn’t bet the ranch.

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