The Light Heavyweight (80-85kg) shock between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Abdelhafid Benchabla is one of the most anticipated fights of the exciting Ukraine Otamans vs. Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder World Series of Boxing (WSB) semi-final return leg. A decisive bout and a re-match from the London 2012 Olympic Games quarter-finals.
Ukrainian Gvozdyk was born in 1987 in Kharkiv and has just turned 26 this week. Since his arrival in the national team in 2008, he is the most determined boxer of the Light Heavyweight category. He was first put in the spotlight in 2008 when he claimed a first gold medal at the World University Championships in Kazan, Russia.
At the 2012 London Olympic Games, Gvozdyk offered his country a bronze medal, after he had eliminated Algerian Benchabla in a very close quarter-finals bout.
His WSB career is a real success story. In his first season, battling for eventual Team finalist Dynamo Moscow, he demonstrated his amazing talent all the way, winning against strong opponents such as Ludovic Groguhé, Imre Szello and… Benchabla. He was one of the first local icons to sign for the Ukraine Otamans once the Franchise had joined the league at the beginning of the present season. Thanks to his powerful punches delivered with excellent speed, Gvozdyk is today at 7-0 in his WSB career.
“I am enjoying a lot this experience in WSB”, stated Gvozdyk. “It allows me to have a thoughtful approach of my training and makes me stronger. I am excited about this bout, but I do not want to add any extra pressure around it. Emotions are tricky. They can sometimes help and at times can stand in the way of a good performance. It is better to rely on what’s been done in training, on the strategy for the bout and on clean thoughts in the ring. I don’t discuss strategy, but all I can say is that I will do my absolute utmost to win on Friday”.
Just a year younger than his foe, Benchabla was born in Zemmouri, Algeria. Four years after joining the national team as a Junior, he qualified for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games and even reached the quarter-finals of the competition.
But Benchabla’s real breakthrough in the boxing world came with his 2011 WSB Individual Championships title and his direct qualification for the 2012 Games. In London, he was his country’s flag bearer at the Opening Ceremony before being stopped by Gvozdyk one step before the podium.
The Algerian is one of the most experienced WSB fighters with 18 bouts over three seasons. In the past weeks, he proved once more his quality bringing four back-to-back victories for Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder. Benchabla’s lethal weapon is his capability to always find the best rhythm and extremely quick attacks.
“Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder offers me all I need. It is a very professional team and its staff is fantastic”, declared Benchabla. “So far I have done a good third season. Fighting in these semi-finals is obviously a pressure but I will do my best to fight against this feeling and win to make my team proud. Last time against Gvozdyk I only lost on a split decision and I am sure I can win this Friday”.