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

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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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