Oleksandr Gvozdyk wants to make a beeline for a light heavyweight title—specifically the one held by Dmitry Bivol.

The former light heavyweight champion from Ukraine came out of retirement earlier this year with a decision over Josue Obando. He then followed it up with a far more impressive performance: a sixth-round knockout of veteran Ricards Bolotniks. With his career being guided by Eddy Reynoso and Canelo Alvarez, “The Nail” feels he can make a legitimate push at a second title run.

In a recent interview, Gvozdyk made it clear he wants to fight WBA titlist Bivol of Russia. Moreover, Gvozdyk said he has no qualms facing Russian fighters, despite edicts from several of boxing’s sanctioning bodies banning Russian (and Belarusian) fighters from competing for their titles.

The WBC recently put their foot down on that mandate, saying they would not allow Bivol to fight for their belt, which is held by unified champion Artur Beterbiev, who holds the IBF and WBO belts as well.

But Gvozdyk feels that attitude is a bit misguided.

“Bivol is who I am targeting right now.” Gvozdyk told Pro Box TV. “Listen! We are going to have a fight, we are not going to play, we are going to fight which is not a problem for me. Our soldiers fight in the battle field, I’m doing this in the ring. I will try to hit him and try to damage him, I don’t think this is supposed to be a problem.

“There are a lot of these views that the Russian fighters are supposed to be disqualified because of their citizenship. You know, I’m not an organization. I’m not a guy who is in charge to make this type of decision. If there is opportunity to fight one of these guys, like I said, I’m not going to play with them, I’m going to fight with them which is totally okay for me.”

Gvozdyk originally announced his retirement shortly after he suffered a stoppage loss to Beterbiev in October of 2019 at Liacouras Center in Philadelphia.

Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.