Dmitry Bivol wants to get a tune-up fight in January and then face Artur Beterbiev in June for the undisputed light heavyweight championship.
Beterbiev thinks Bivol is a fake and is not serious about wanting to fight him. He notes that Bivol always talks about fighting him, but he never puts his words in action.
Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) is eager to get back in the ring to defend his WBA light heavyweight title after dealing with injuries this year. He last fought in November 2022, beating Gilberto Ramirez, and hasn’t been able to fight since.
Dmitry says his management has a few opponents they’re looking at for him to face in January against 37-year-old Ronald Gavril or Radivoje ‘Hot Rod’ Kalajdzic.
For Bivol’s management to be looking at those two guys as options, they must have some worry about him because he should be fighting much better opposition than them, even with coming off a long layoff.
IBF/WBC/WBO 175-lb champion Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) isn’t a lock to win his fight against WBC mandatory Callum Smith on January 13th because that’s a dangerous fight that he could lose if performs like he did in his last title defense against Anthony Yarde.
“Every time I hope for the next fight, but he, of course, has a fight,” said Dmitry Bivol to Fight Hub TV about the undisputed championship bout with Artur Beterbiev at 175. “I ask my team how we can.”
Bivol should keep his focus on returning to the ring and not worry about the Beterbiev fight just yet because he doesn’t need to get the fan’s hopes up and then go down with another injury that results in an additional year out of the ring.
“In some of the conversations I’ve had with Top Rank and Matchroom about all of this,” said Kornilov. “If this comes together, they’re ready to do it after Ramadan next year. So if he [Beterbiev] beats Callum Smith in January, there will be very serious discussions for this fight to happen in May or July next year.”
The WBC will need to agree to sanction the Beterbiev vs. Bivol fight for their belt to be on the line. Recently, WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said they wouldn’t sanction the fight due to the Russian war in Ukraine. If Bivol doesn’t mind facing Beterbiev with just three belts on the line instead of four, it’s still a doable fight.
“I like it. I need to make a fight [in January] and then make a fight in June or July. It’s better June,” said Bivol.
“We’re trying to see if the Saudi Arabians or the UAE, Abu Dhabi. That’s almost like our second home after that big fight. We got very close with all the guys in Abu Dhabi. We’re hoping to come back there. This [Bivol vs. Beterbiev] can be one of the biggest fights in boxing,” said Kornilov. “That would be a great location as well, considering their appetite for big, big fights.”
The other locations mentioned for Bivol’s January fight were Las Vegas, Chicago, and Florida. One of those cities would probably be more realistic than Bivol’s tune-up taking place in the Middle East.
It wouldn’t be a big enough fight to be worthy of being staged in the Middle East if Bivol is going to be facing Gavril or Hot Rod next. If Bivol were facing David Benavidez, Canelo Alvarez, Jermall Charlo, David Morrell Jr., or Demetrius Andrade, having the fight in Saudi Arabia would make sense.
“I didn’t take it seriously too much about a rematch with Canelo because it was only talking. It was words, words,” said Bivol when asked about a rematch with Canelo Alvarez. “I have my own weight. Of course, it’s better to fight in my weight class for four belts.
“If they [Team Canelo] want a rematch, they need to do more than just talking. We need to do some moves, and we know who should do some moves. It’s not me because I’m ready to fight. I don’t care about it too much. I’m just focused on my weight class now,” said Bivol.
It would be a good idea for Bivol not to hold his breath waiting for Canelo to take the rematch. If he hasn’t done it by now, it means he never wanted the rematch to begin with. When Canelo is interested in fighting someone, he’s quick to set up a fight. He wanted Avni Yildirim and John Ryder, and those fights happened quickly.
“The fight against Beterbiev is a great fight, to be honest. For me as an athlete, I see him as a great fighter,” said Bivol. “He’s a very big puncher. He’s one of the biggest punchers in boxing today. Not just in the light heavyweight class. For me, it’s interesting to check my skills against an opponent like him.
“I didn’t expect that [Jermell] Charlo wouldn’t be confident,” said Bivol when asked about his thoughts on Canelo’s recent win over Jermell Charlo. “He wasn’t confident at all. What I saw was my personal opinion. Canelo won, and we expected it.
“He was from a smaller weight class, but you saw in the ring that Charlo looked bigger than Canelo. Who said that he [Canelo] should knock him out? It was a good ending of the fight. He just won.
“I didn’t see anything new,” said Bivol when told that Canelo said he was 100% for the Jermell fight and that he hadn’t been physically at his best when he fought him because he had a wrist injury. “It was how he was before. It was the same.
“He didn’t show anything new, some combinations. I don’t know what else. He [Canelo] used the same weapon he was using before. Maybe inside of him, he felt more confident, but from outside, I couldn’t see. But he did a great job against Ryder and Charlo, of course,” said Bivol.
“I have good health now, and I’m hungry for fighting now,” said Bivol about his injuries having been healed up, and he’s ready to return to the ring after a year out of the ring.
“Yeah, it was a pause, but I had a pause for a year and a half. Then I got a couple of fights, and I was the best fighter of the year [in 2022]. If you like my boxing, be a little bit patient, and I will come back in January, and I hope we will see a good fight,” said Bivol.