Former WBC light-heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk has announced his retirement at 33 to pursue business opportunities. 

The news came as a surprise with the Ukrainian still highly-rated by the WBC and IBF and widely considered one of the finest 175lbs fighters in the world.

Most expected ‘The Nail’ to build another challenge at a light-heavyweight championship, having lost a unification fight with Russian sharpshooter Artur Beterbiev (LTKO10) for the WBC and IBF crowns in October 2019.

According to manager Egis Klimas, Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) needed to dedicate himself fully to either boxing or business – and chose the latter. Though Klimas did leave the door slightly ajar for a rematch with Beterbiev.

“He’s a very smart guy, so he thinks it’s going to be inconvenient for him to do that kind of business and box at the same time,” Klimas told Steve Kim of ESPN. “So he needs to give himself 100% to boxing or business. So he decided to do that.

“What kept him from moving away from boxing, that motivation to go back into the ring, was Beterbiev. That was the only one holding him because he wanted to get that rematch. There might be a possibility that someone will get him a rematch, he might change his mind.”

Part of that crack Ukrainian amateur set-up that included Vasiliy Lomachenko and Oleksandr Usyk, Gvozdyk won Olympic bronze at the London 2012 Games before reaching the professional pinnacle by halting long-reigning WBC champion Adonis Stevenson [KO11] in December 2018. Stevenson suffered career-ending injuries, but thankfully emerged from an induced coma to rehabilitate at home where he continues to improve.

After one successful defence against Doudou Ngumbu (WTKO5), Gvozdyk came off second best in a unification bout with heavy-handed Russian Beterbiev. Gvozdyk was promoted by Top Rank for his entire career and Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum paid a warm tribute to the fighter on his retirement.

“It’s been a pleasure for us to have promoted Oleksandr Gvozdyk, who not only proved himself to be a great fighter, but is also one of the most highly intelligent boxers that we have had the pleasure of promoting,” Arum told ESPN. “Thankfully, we worked well together with him and led him to a world championship.

“He’s now bound and determined to pursue a business career, and a very important business opportunity. We know he will succeed because of his ability, character and perseverance. Everybody at Top Rank wishes him the greatest good fortune in his next career.”

Main image: Mikey Williams, Top Rank.