Oleksandr Gvozdyk is the latest Ukrainian star making his mark in boxing and following the footsteps of his Cruiserweight mate Oleksandr Usyk and Lightweight star Vasyl Lomachenko.
He makes the first defence of his WBC Light-Heavyweight Title against French ace Doudou Ngumbu in Philadelphia on Saturday 30th March, and BoxNation will bring you all the action live.
Usyk and Lomachenko are staking their claim to be all-time greats, but who does Gvozdyk have to nab to be a 175lb great?
It is one of boxing’s great divisions, stacked with legends. Steve Lillis tells us the men he considers best Light-Heavyweights of the last 50 years.
10. PRINCE CHARLES WILLIAMS (USA)
Nobody did him any favours and after an erratic start to his career became one of the division’s danger men and an unsung champion.
He won the IBF belt in October 1987 in a sensational clash against Bobby Czyz and made eight defences. Among them was another battle with Czyz before running into Henry Maske.
In January 1995 he boxed a technical draw against Merqui Sosa when a ringside doctor decided neither man was fit enough to continue after nine rounds.
9. HENRY MASKE (Germany)
[Image credit: dpa / Frank Mächler]
King Henry, who hails from the old East Germany, is one of the most popular German sportsmen in history. He was an Olympic gold medallist in 1988 and turned professional in 1990 after The Berlin Wall was torn down.
He won the IBF title in 1993 against another great champion Prince Charles Williams and made 10 defences before losing a split decision against Virgil Hill. He avenged his only career defeat more than 10 years later.
8. DWIGHT MUHAMMAD QAWI (USA)
[Image credit: theboxingchannel]
Known for ending Matthew Saad Muhammad’s wildly exciting reign in December 1981 and repeating that stoppage win two fights later.
The 5ft 7in powerhouse’s reign only lasted three defences before he was dethroned by Michael Spinks, but even in non-title fights he excelled beating Mike Rossman and inmate James Scott in New Jersey’s Rahway prison.
Dwight learned to box while locked up in that slammer in 1978 and then turned professional with no amateur experience.
7. EDDIE MUSTAFA MUHAMMAD (USA)
Some argue he never fulfilled his potential, but did more than what most can dream of. While upcoming he defeated Matthew Saad Muhammad.
He lost his first World Title shot against Victor Galindez in 1977, but three years later won the WBA crown against Marvin Johnson, then ran into Michael Spinks in his third defence to end his reign as World Champ.
6. VICTOR GALINDEZ (Argentina)
[Image credit: Zimbio]
Bull shaped Galindez was one of the division’s great road warriors in the 1970s and was done no favours.
He won the WBA crown on home soil against American Len Hutchins but all 11 defences were on the road, finally losing to Mike Rossman in 1978, who he beat in a rematch less than a year later.
5. VIRGIL HILL (USA)
North Dakota’s favourite fighting son wasn’t easy on the eye, didn’t bang many people over, but was so hard to beat.
That doesn’t read too impressive, but the part Native American’s technical ability would have been too much for the current crop.
He won a silver medal at the 1984 Olympics and in two WBA reigns won 22 of his 24 Light-Heavyweight World Title fights - losing only to Thomas Hearns and Darius Michalczewski.
4. MATTHEW SAAD MUHAMMAD (USA)
[Image credit: The Ring Magazine/Getty Images]
He won the WBC crown against Marvin Johnson in April 1979 and in his first two defences saw off Britain’s greatest ever Light-Heavyweight John Conteh.
He made eight defences where opponents included Yaqui Lopez and Murray Sutherland. In a short reign of little more than two-and-a-half years, most fights were thrillers where he would often come back from the brink of defeat. What a fighting heart.
3. ROY JONES JR (USA)
An outrageous talent, fists that burnt, jet-like speed and defensive brilliance. Had he stayed at the weight he would have arguably been the division’s greatest ever after ruling the Super-Middleweight division where he is perhaps number one of all-time.
He started as WBC Champion and added the WBA and IBF Titles before moving up to Heavyweight and defeating WBA boss John Ruiz.
Jones dropped back down to Light-Heavyweight and beat Antonio Tarver, but lost the rematch. He struggled thereafter and damaged his legacy by fighting on until early last year.
2. BOB FOSTER (USA)
‘The Sheriff of Albuquerque’ is just pipped as the best of the last half century. The gangly 6ft 3in slugger could knock men out cold and started his reign of terror in May 1968 when he flattened Dick Tiger and ruled for six years.
During the reign he came unstuck when he moved to Heavyweight and was let down by his chin against Joe Frazier and then Muhammad Ali in 1972.
In his fight before Ali, he fought at Wembley where he KO’d Chris Finnegan, himself a serious talent.
1. MICHAEL SPINKS (USA)
He bossed the division in the early to mid 1980s when it was stacked with serious contenders and only lost when he moved up to Heavyweight and cashed out against Mike Tyson.
The 1976 Olympic gold medalist’s World Title reign started in July 1981 when he beat Eddie Mustafa Muhammad and made 10 defences, whilst also picking up the IBF and WBC Titles.
Spinks has the lot - style, substance, a beautiful jab and a right hand that caused damage.
Watch WBC World Light-Heavyweight Champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk defend his belt live on BoxNation on March 30th.