IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev may need to wait until after WBA champ Dmitry Bivol faces Canelo Alvarez in September before he gets the chance to fight him for the undisputed championship.
Right now, it’s still not a certainty that Canelo (58-2-2, 39 KOs) will be fighting Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) this year because the rematch hasn’t been negotiated, and both of them will need to get through their interim fights in the first half of 2023.
Moreover, Canelo is coming off a left wrist injury, and there’s no way of knowing if he’ll reinjure it in training or during his expected May 6th title defense against WBO mandatory John Ryder.
“Of course, of course, I want this fight,” Beterbiev said to iFL TV about wanting to fight WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol next after he takes care of WBO mandatory Anthony Yarde on Saturday.
“I’m not thinking about it,” Beterbiev said on the possibility that Bivol could be facing Canelo Alvarez in a rematch in September at 168 for the undisputed championship.
If Beterbiev is “not thinking” about the potential of Bivol taking the fight with Canelo in September, he needs to start thinking about it because it’s almost a lock that the two will meet for a rematch, provided that they win their next fights and get through them without injury.
Unless Beterbiev plans on fighting only once this year, as was the case in 2022, he will need to defend against his WBC mandatory Callum Smith in his next fight. The only thing that will prevent Beterbeiv from being stuck with having to defend against Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) is if he Bivol fights him next, which doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
Interestingly, Callum’s promoter Eddie Hearn is already calling him the #1 fighter in the 175-lb division, without him having fought Beterbiev or Bivol. If Hearn is right, Beterbiev will have a big problem in his next title defense, assuming he gets past Yarde on Saturday.
Yarde is in the position of a spoiler on Saturday, posing as a significant fly in the ointment that could prevent Beterbiev from moving forward to the important fight with Bivol. If Yarde wins, it’ll be him who faces Bivol for the undisputed championship, and all the glory that Beterbiev had hoped to get by winning that fight will have been dashed.