WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol will have a tough test on his hands on December 23rd, defending against Lyndon Arthur in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Bivol will likely be a huge favorite over Lyndon in this fight, but it should be competitive while it lasts. It’s been a year since Bivol last defended his WBA 175-lb title against Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez in November 2022, so he deserves a gimme.
It’s disappointing how Bivol has failed to take advantage of his victory over Canelo Alvarez last year. The Mexican start wisely chose not to rematch Bivol, and no big names have shown interest in fighting him.
Facing Lyndon Arthur is a regressive move on Bivol’s part, as this guy isn’t well known in the U.S., and facing him won’t attract much interest. Arthur is an excellent fighter, but it’s not a name guy that will further Dmitry’s career.
The Bivol vs. Arthur fight will reportedly be announced today, along with the rest of the card for the December 23rd PPV event in Saudi Arabia.
According to Dan Rafael, Arthur (23-1, 16 KOs) is replacing contender Richard Rivera as the challenger to the unbeaten Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs). Rafael states that the Bivol-Rivera fight hadn’t been finalized.
Some fans would have preferred that Bivol fight Rivera, as he’s an American and has an entertaining fighting style with the ‘Popeye The Sailor Man’ thing going.
Arthur, 31, is a good opponent for Bivol, as he’s won his last four fights since losing to Anthony Yarde by a fourth round knockout in 2021.
It would be more interesting if Yarde were the one facing Bivol, as that would give boxing fans a chance to compare Dmitry’s performance against the British fighter to that of IBF/WBC/WBO champion Artur Beterbiev, who recently knocked him out.
Bivol vs. Arthur will get an undercard slot on the Anthony Joshua vs. Otto Wallin card. Joshua is headlining, even though he’s no longer a world champion. The other notable fight on the card involves former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder fighting former WBO champ Joseph Parker.
Boxing fans have been critical of the December 23rd card, noting that virtually all the fights are mismatches or very close to it.
People would have preferred that Joshua fight Wilder in the main event, as these two guys are getting old and have been in orbit around each other for the last five years.
The Saudis should have insisted that Joshua & Wilder fight each other on the card instead of facing other opposition.
Other notable fights on the December 23rd card:
- Filip Hrgovic vs. Mark De Mori
- Arslanbek Makhmudov vs. Agit Kabayel
Per source, Dmitry Bivol will still defend his WBA light heavyweight title on the Dec. 23 Saudi Arabia card but it will be against Lyndon Arthur. The deal with Richie Rivera was not finalized. #boxing
— Dan Rafael (@DanRafael1) November 14, 2023