22 Mar

Benavidez's Sparring Partner: "I Favor Oleksandr"

American Lionel Thompson (22-5, 12 KOs), who has previously sparred with Oleksandr Gvozdyk and David Benavidez, shared who he sees as the favorite in their bout.

"Sparring against Benavidez is tough, I won't lie. It felt like the four hardest sessions I've ever had. It was challenging, you know, I really enjoyed it, I had to stay focused because I can't ignore that David is big. But it was really good work. However, I'm more inclined towards Oleksandr.

Benavidez isn't used to taking heavy shots from big guys. All that body weight leans on you. David is used to fighting against smaller guys, where they can't really hurt him. In this fight, he won't be able to land punches like he's used to because Gvozdyk is very good at counter-attacks, he can also hit you. He sent Adonis Stevenson into a coma.

David needs to be cautious. He won't be able to get in close and do what he usually does, and take punches like that. Normally, he's too big for his opponents, he can take shots on his elbows, shoulders, arms, but with Gvozdyk, he'll need to move his head. I think he needs to change for this fight.

I'm not saying he's much bigger, I'm saying Gvozdyk is used to catching punches from big guys. He's accustomed to that kind of pressure. The pressure Benavidez brings is familiar to him. David doesn't apply more pressure to his opponents than Beterbiev. And David isn't used to taking heavy shots from guys like Gvozdyk.

If Benavidez wins, he'll earn my respect. I'll say he's a beast even if he enters the fight but can't beat Beterbiev," said Thompson.

Oleksandr Gvozdyk (20-1, 16 KOs) and David Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) will meet in a bout for the "interim" WBC light heavyweight title (up to 79.4 kg). The fight is set to be on the undercard of the next Gervonta Davis confrontation. The likely date is June 15.