Dmitry Bivol eyes unification, predicts Beterbiev Victory

By Will Arons - 12/18/2023 - Comments

WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol revealed that when he signed the contract with the Saudis for him to fight Lyndon Arthur this Saturday night on December 23rd, it wasn’t the main fight that they wanted.

The Saudis signed the deal with Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) for him to fight for the undisputed 175-pound championship, which could happen next if he wins his fight with Arthur (23-1, 16 KOs), and whoever emerges as the winner of the clash between IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev & Callum Smith on January 13th.

Bivol predicts that Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) will come out victorious against Smith (29-1, 21 KOs), which is what many boxing fans are predicting as well.

Smith already failed against Canelo Alvarez several years ago, and he’s beaten no one notable since that would make someone believe he’s capable of defeating Beterbiev next month.

What’s surprising is the Saudis not insisting on Bivol face a better opponent than Lyndon Arthur because this would seem like a step down for him from his last fight over a year ago against Gilberto Ramirez in November 2022.

Bivol focused on undisputed goal

“When I signed the contract with the Saudis for Lyndon Arthur, it wasn’t the main thing that they wanted. They want to make the undisputed fight in the light heavyweight division, and this is why I’m here,” said WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol to the media,” said about his fight this Saturday, December 23d, against Lyndon Arthur in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Lyndon, 32, is a stepping stone for Bivol to get to the undisputed championship against the Beterbiev vs. Smith winner. Unless Bivol is incredibly rusty, he should have an easy victory over Arthur to then await the winner of the Beterbiev-Smith fight..

“I hope that I win this fight, and my name fight will be for the undisputed in my weight class [175], not at super middleweight because the subject with Canelo is closed. I have my own way,” said Bivol.

“I give him more chance to win than Callum Smith,” said Bivol when asked about who he favors between IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith in their fight on January 13th.

“I respect him [Beterbiev] as an athlete and boxer but nothing more. He’s my future opponent, and he’s in my division. He has something that I want. I have to have a good camp, and I can beat him.

“I’m not a big light heavyweight. You saw in my past light heavyweight opponents, I’m not bigger than them,” said Bivol on why he was willing to move down to 168 for a rematch with Canelo Alvarez.

Canelo chapter closed for Bivol

“I can make 168, but only for a belt and nothing else. Canelo has four belts, and this is why I wanted to fight him,” said Bivol. “Now, we have our way. Right now, I’m focused on Lyndon Arthur first and then on my goal of becoming light heavyweight division. This is more realistic than other fights.”

Canelo has seemingly made his decision that he’s not interested in a rematch with Bivol, and you can’t blame him. Alvarez doesn’t have the size or the punch output to compete with Bivol, so it’s a waste of time to even try.

“How did I make it difficult? We didn’t even discuss,” said Bivol, reacting to being told that Canelo said that he gave up on the idea of a rematch with him because he was making negotiations difficult. “With me, no one was talking about, ‘Let’s make this fight for this date or that date’ or ‘What do you want?’ Nothing else.”

It’s got to be frustrating for Bivol to have Canelo’s name brought up in countless interviews with the media, who want to know why there wasn’t a rematch. If Canelo wanted a second fight, he would have made it happen because thee was plenty of interest from boxing fans, and the match would have sold well on PPV.

“He just had his fights, his date, and he was fighting, and then I saw in the news that the problem was me. It’s funny, but I’m not focused on it. I’m focused on my career. I beat him once, and I’m good,” said Bivol.

“I can’t say he was lying because maybe the information he got from his team wasn’t true. I don’t know. But maybe he wanted to close the subject like this. I didn’t want the rematch. With me, nobody was discussing,” said Bivol.

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