Artur Beterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol not happening says Bob Arum

By Rob Smith - 06/07/2023 - Comments

Fans will not see the undisputed light heavyweight championship fight this year between Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol because of the WBC’s ban on Russian fighters.

IBF/WBC/WBO 175-lb champion Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum says he won’t push for the Beterbiev-Bivol fight while the Russian invasion of Ukraine is going on.

Arum says that the Russian-born Beterbiev now lives in Canada, so he sees him as being Canadian because he’s been living in that country for the last 14 years.

Bivol was born in Kyrgyzstan and lives in Los Angeles, but for some reason, he’s viewed as being Russian. It’s unclear why.

This could mean that these two fighters may never fight because the war could wind up being long, protracted, lasting many years, and the 38-year-old Beterbiev isn’t young enough to stick around for too much longer.

Arum’s decision not to pursue making the Beterbiev-Bivol fight is good news for Canelo Alvarez because it gives him more negotiating power to get his demands met by Bivol for a rematch in September.

Now that Canelo knows that Bivol has no other viable options besides fighting him again, he can get his way.

“I 100% support Ukraine and its fight against aggression, so I am not going to push for a Bivol vs. Beterbiev fight,” said Bob Arum to 3 Knockdown Rule about his decision not to push for the Artur Beterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol fight this year.

“You may say, ‘Well, isn’t Beterbiev Russian?’ and the answer is no, not really. He has had a residential visa in Canada for fourteen years, so I look at him as being Canadian.”

It’s arguably a good thing for Beterbiev that Arum isn’t going to insist on him fighting Bivol because it’s a bad style match-up on paper. Bivol is a pure boxer with excellent footwork who is impossible to hit cleanly.

Arum has been around long enough to know what Beterbiev would be up against if he were to fight Bivol. While he probably wouldn’t be outboxed as we saw with Canelo in his one-sided loss to Bivol, it still could be bad for Beterbiev.

Beterbiev is defending against his WBC mandatory Callum Smith on August 19th. Assuming Beterbiev wins that, he could be out of interesting opponents unless Canelo moves up to 175 to challenge him for his three titles.

Thus far, Canelo has never shown any interest in fighting Beterbiev, and that’s not likely to change. Beterbiev hits too hard, and he’s not someone that will cruise against Canelo the way Bivol did last year.