WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) will finally return to action around November after a one-year layoff due to an injury.
Eddie Hearn says Bivol will fight in October or November and then battle for the undisputed 175-lb championship against the Artur Beterbiev vs. Callum Smith contest winner. Those two are fighting on January 13th.
Boxing fans want to see Bivol take on IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) for the undisputed championship, but they’ll need to wait until Artur takes care of business against his WBC mandatory Callum Smith next January.
Hearn believes that Callum will pull off an upset by defeating Beterbiev to put himself in a position to face Bivol for the four-belt championship.
For the fans that witnessed Smith’s poor showings against Canelo Alvarez & John Ryder, they’re not giving him much chance of beating Beterbiev in January unless the Canadian-based Russian fighter gets tired from bombarding him with punches all night.
“He’s been injured for a while now. Some people think he’s just decided not to fight since last November, but he has been injured,” said promoter Eddie Hearn to DAZN Boxing about Bivol.
“I think around October time or November. He wants the winner of Callum Smith against Beterbiev. I think if we can get him out in November.”
Until last year, Bivol had toiled in near obscurity, only known by hardcore boxing fans and ignored mainly due to the light heavyweight division not being popular with mainstream casual fans.
His popularity went through the roof after Bivol’s victory over superstar Canelo Alvarez and former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez last year. Unfortunately for Bivol, injury problems have prevented him from capitalizing on his success from last year.
Canelo surprisingly chose not to attempt to avenge his loss to Bivol, saying that the rematch didn’t happen because Dmitry began asking for things.
Bivol revealed that he wanted to fight Canelo for his undisputed super middleweight championship, and the Mexican star was unwilling to do this.
Bivol needs a high-level opponent to prepare him for Beterbiev because it won’t help him if he faces a tune-up-level guy. Gilberto Ramirez would be the ideal foe for Bivol if he were fighting Callum Smith because the British fighter tends to retreat and shell up against the ropes when he’s given the slightest amount of pressure.
Hopefully, Callum isn’t the one that Bivol fights for the undisputed championship next year because the boxing public will want to see an exciting contest, and Beterbiev is better equipped mentally & physically to make that happen than Callum.