Fresh off his victory over Canelo Alvarez, WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol says he’d like to fight Artur Beterbiev for the undisputed championship at 175.
Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) is coming off a big second-round knockout win over WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. last Saturday night, and he says he wants to face Bivol next for the undisputed championship.
It doesn’t look likely that we’ll see the match between IBF, WBC & WBO champion Beterbiev and Bivol because the promoters have other ideas.
Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum wants to match him against British fighter Anthony Yarde in October in a fight that may or may not be necessary at this time.
Without the World Boxing Organization ordering the Beterbiev vs. Yarde fight, it’s up to the promoters. Unfortunately for Beterbiev, Arum wants him to fight Yarde (22-2, 21 KOs) rather than Bivol.
Arum isn’t interested in making that fight because Bivol fights on DAZN, whereas Beterbiev is an ESPN guy.
Whether that’s the real reason for Arum’s reluctance to make the Beterbiev vs. Bivol fight is unknown.
Given the dominating performance Bivol put in three years ago, defeating Arum’s fighter Joe Smith Jr. by a one-sided 12-round decision, it’s easy to see why the promoter wouldn’t want to let the Eddie Hearn-promoted Dmitry a shot at schooling Beterbiev in the same way.
“Yes, of course, it is my goal,” Bivol said to Sky Sports on wanting the fight against IBF/WBC/WBO 175-lb champion Beterbiev for the undisputed championship.
“I watched the [Beterbiev-Smith] fight. As I have said before, I am very excited about unifying all the belts in the division.”
Hearn likely isn’t excited about putting the fight together between Bivol and Beterbiev because if his fighter loses, that will wreck the rematch with Canelo Alvarez next year.
Canelo is expected to fight Bivol in a rematch next May to try and avenge his embarrassing 12-round decision loss last month on May 7th. If Beterbiev were to KO Bivol like he did Joe Smith Jr, that would mess up the rematch with Canelo.
We probably won’t get a chance to see the undisputed championship at 175 until all the belt holders are with the same promotional company or fight on the same network.
The way that fights don’t happen because of network and promotional issues is a throwback to how the NFL and AFL teams didn’t play against each other until merging in 1966.
There’s money to be made for Beterbiev to go to England to defend against WBO contender Yarde. To be sure, it’s a complete mismatch, as Yarde is mediocre, and Beterbiev is on another level.
We’ll see what Arum wants to do with Beterbiev after he defeats Yarde next October. Hopefully, he lets Beterbiev take on Bivol then because he’s getting up there in age at 37. If Arum waits too long before giving Beterbiev the green light to face Bivol, he’ll be too old and will lose.