With Top Rank having a firm hold of a good portion of the light heavyweight division, it appears that it is moving forward with a big-time unification fight.
According to Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, Top Rank is finalizing a deal to have IBF champion Artur Beterbiev and WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk engage in a unification fight in the fall. The fight would crown the first unified champion since Andre Ward held the unified belts from 2016 to 2017 when he retired, vacating all but the WBC title.
Sources tell @TheAthleticBOX Top Rank is in the process of finalizing a fall light heavyweight title unification bout between Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Artur Beterbiev on an ESPN platform. Terrific matchup that will go a long way toward determining light heavyweight supremacy— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) July 15, 2019
Beterbiev has held the IBF title since later 2017 when he knocked out Enrico Koelling on ESPN. Since then, Beterbiev has been somewhat inactive since winning the title with his first defense coming 11 months after the win over Koelling. After retaining the title against Callum Johnson on DAZN last October, Beterbiev returned to ESPN in May when he stopped Radivoje Kalajdzic in five rounds.
Gvozdyk won his world title last year when he traveled to Canada and knocked out Adonis Stevenson while down on two of the three scorecards. Trained by Teddy Atlas, Gvozdyk returned to the ring in March and beat Doudou Ngumbu after Ngumbu couldn’t continue fighting in the fifth round due to a calf injury.