When undefeated WBC interim Light Heavyweight titlist Oleksandr Gvodyk (15-0-0, 12KO) takes on WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1-1, 24KO) Saturday night in Quebec, it will be under the guidance of his new trainer Teddy Atlas. Atlas replaces Gvozdyk’s former trainer Marco Contreras.
“Oleksandr was looking to step up and be trained by Teddy,” said Egis Klimas who manages Gvozdyk. “I know Teddy for a long time. He’s not committing just because. He thought about this very deeply. It wasn’t an easy decision for him to make. When he spent time with Oleksandr, with his family and in the gym, it looks like they clicked.”
“I wanted to meet him and his family,” Atlas said. “So I did. I met him, spent two days with him, we watched film, had lunch and dinner on the first day, and then we spent the second day in the gym working together. I met his family. He has three young children and a wife, and I trust Egis as a person. I told him that the first prerequisite to even entertaining the thought of coming back to training is if I thought they were good people. If I didn’t think that, I wouldn’t even entertain it.”
“That is the first thing — do I want to spend time with this person? And I felt that I would want to be around a person like that. And then the next thing was can I help him and is he conducive to being trained? Will he allow himself to be coached? The answer was yes from what I could see, and they’re asking for my help, so can I help him? I feel I can help him.”
Atlas, who last worked with Tim Bradley for his fight with Brandon Rios in 2015, said he also had to make sure he himself was in it 100% before he took on the job.
“I had to ask myself, ‘Am I ready to do this again?’ Are you emotionally ready to do this again? I’ve been training fighters since I was a kid, since I was 21 years old training [Hall of Famer] Wilfred Benitez. That took me a couple of weeks to decide. It’s not something to decide on in a couple of days. And after all these years training fighters, your neck hurts, your shoulder, the back hurts. ”
Klimas said Gvozdyk’s decision to move on from Contreras was not a personal one.
“Oleksandr just felt like it was time for him to step up, and this is a championship bout and he just was looking for an opportunity to learn more and have more attention.”
It will be interesting to see the dynamic Atlas brings to Gvozdyk on Saturday night.