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Oleksandr Gvozdyk pays tribute to Teddy Atlas ahead of Artur Beterbiev clash

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr ‘The Nail’ Gvozdyk 17-0 (14) has praised his coach Teddy Atlas ahead of his unification bout against IBF titleholder Artur Beterbiev 14-0 (14) at the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia this Saturday night.

The 32-year-old Ukrainian hooked up with the Hall of Fame trainer ahead of his title winning effort against Adonis Stevenson last December.

“Teddy is a great teacher, a great trainer and a great man,” Gvozdyk said to Yahoo Sports. “It’s been a blessing to work with him. He’s one of the best, if not the best, and he is very aware of everything, from the big-picture things to the smallest details.

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“Sometimes in boxing, and I was doing it for 20 years, you maybe reach a dead end. I had a good team, but I needed something else, something different. And just listening to Teddy commentate on fights, I knew he saw it differently than a lot of trainers.”

The 175-pound division is red-hot at the moment with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol 17-0 (11) successfully defending his crown last weekend and WBO champion Sergey Kovalev 34-3-1 (29) set to defend against middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 52-1-2 (35) next month.

“It’s a blessing to be in a division like this,” Gvozdyk said. “There are a lot of good boxers and so you have a lot of opportunities to prove yourself.

“Sometimes a world champion is in a division where there aren’t a lot of opponents and even though he is very good, no one gives him the respect because they don’t think the division is talented.

“But in this division, there are a lot of great opponents to fight and [Beterbiev] is definitely one of them. That’s why I wanted to take this fight.”

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