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Oleksandr Gvozdyk: “Sparring Canelo made me realise I still have fight left in me”

Oleksandr Gvozdyk will take a comeback test on the Canelo vs Ryder undercard.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk will take a comeback test on the Canelo vs Ryder undercard
Oleksandr Gvozdyk will take a comeback test on the Canelo vs Ryder undercard
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

They say you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone and former WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk has found this out first hand.

After retiring from the sport in 2019, the now 36-year-old is throwing his hat back into the ring following positive sparring sessions with Canelo Alvarez and Gilberto Ramirez.

Gvozdyk (18-1, 14 KO) was beaten by Artur Beterbiev in October of 2019, pushing him into a decision to retire early and focus on a new business venture.

But the former Olympic bronze medalist struggled with life away from the ring and has since dipped his toe back into fighting waters in gaining a six-round win over Josue Obando.

Ricards Bolotniks (19-6-1, 8 KO) is next up for Gvozdyk on the undercard of Canelo Alvarez vs John Ryder on May , and “The Nail” spoke to Bad Left Hook this week on his decision to return.

Why have you decided to return to boxing?

In 2019, I thought it was a good time to try myself in something other than boxing, trying to start my own business in Ukraine.

But a lack of experience, plus the Russian invasion in Ukraine put a big cross on my plans. Without any understanding, what to do next, all of sudden I received an invitation from Canelo to be one of his sparring partners for his fight against Bivol.

I spent a whole camp with him, and was happy with my performance, and the idea of coming back came up automatically.

I still have a lot to achieve in boxing. I am aiming to become a two-time world champion and would love to earn the right to fight against the division’s best, Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol.

Talk to me about the impact the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had on you and your family?

If I can represent my country on the international arena, it will bring the attention of more people to all the atrocities Russians are doing in my country. This is my aim, to continue flying our flag across the world.

I have lived in California with my family for the last nine years, but my father is still in Ukraine. He won’t go anywhere.

What do you know about Bolotniks?

I know enough about Bolotniks to know that he is a very strong and solid fighter. He will be doing everything he can in order to put me back to retirement.

What have you learned since your return?

Sparring with the very best made me realise that I am still able to compete at the very highest level. Canelo inspired me but also enabled me to realise my abilities.

I know that Oleksandr Usyk has sparred with Bolotniks in the past so I will be sure to speak to him before the fight to gain any possible insight that can work to my advantage.

Lewis Watson is a sports writer from London, UK, and a member of the BWAA. Follow or contact him on Twitter @lewroyscribbles

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