Beterbiev: Focused on Victory Against Bivol, Not Just the Knockout

By Tim Compton - 04/16/2024 - Comments

IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev isn’t focused on trying to score a knockout over WBA champ Dmitry Bivol heading into their June 1st fight on ESPN in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) wants to get the victory to capture the WBA belt from Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs), and if he has to go the full 12-round distance to do that, he’s ready.

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That said, Beterbiev would like to knock out the unbeaten 32-year-old Bivol if the opportunity arises. Bivol vs. Beterbiev is headlining on ESPN at the Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The fight was a long time coming. They waited five years before the Saudis finally stepped in to make it a reality. Without them, it’s questionable whether the Bivol-Beterbiev fight would have ever fought, not that Beterbiev didn’t want to.

Age Not a Concern for the Champion

“It’s important, yeah, but I’m not looking for that,” said Artur Beterbiev to the media when asked if it’s important for him to knockout Dmitry Bivol on June 1st in Saudi Arabia.

It will be difficult for Beterbiev to stop Bivol because he’s a mover who doesn’t stay in the pocket like most of the opponents he’s faced. Beterbiev could potentially stop Bivol if he backs up to the ropes and shells up, which he tends to do a lot in his fights.

“We’ll see. I’m not old, 39 only. I’m not old,” said Beterbiev when asked if Bivol is catching you at the right time. “I believe I’ll prepare 100%, but I can’t say I’ll do something,” said Beterbiev on whether he’ll knockout Bivol.

Some fans believe Bivol has intentionally waited until Beterbiev has aged and slowed down a little before finally showing interest in fighting him. However, it’s the Saudis who wanted this fight, and if they had been around in the last five years to offer Bivol big money to fight Beterbiev, he would have done so.

Bivol’s Mindset a Mystery

“Ask him, but he’ll never tell the truth,” said Beterbiev on whether Bivol will be ‘scared’ of him on fight night. “Of course, it’s always different. The fight is different. You’re preparing different,” said Beterbiev when asked if he’s bringing something different for this fight.

This isn’t the first time that Beterbiev has talked about Bivol not telling the truth. He feels that he’s not always truthful in what he says about why the two haven’t fought in the past.

“I’m not learning [studying] him for a long time. I’ve just watched a couple of his fights first time. We just started to learn him. We will prepare,” said Beterbiev when asked if he’s been watching Bivol’s fights.

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