The Klitschko brothers, Vitali and Wladimir, have called for the WBA to ban Russian boxer Dmitry Bivol and not let him compete in his big May 7 fight with superstar Canelo Alvarez.
With the ongoing Ukraine conflict seeing a number of the sporting governing bodies ban Russian athletes from the competition – for example, in football, FIFA and UEFA have banned Russian teams from all competitions until further notice – the Klitschkos have called on the WBA to do the same thing.
Bivol, the reigning WBA light-heavyweight champion is as we know set to face Canelo in a lucrative bout in May. The Klitschko’s say no way should the fight be allowed to go ahead.
“Absolutely not. Every sanction, and it’s nothing against the personality or athletes, it’s about the politics of Russia,” Wladimir said to BBC 5 Live when asked if Bivol should be allowed to fight Canelo. “Every Russian representative, in this case, needs to be sanctioned because this way we show to Russia that the world is against this senseless war and that there’s no good in this war.”
The folks at the WBA are now under quite a bit of pressure to make a decision on this matter and fast. If Bivol is removed from the May 7 fight with Canelo, another fighter will of course have to be brought in. The ongoing tensions in Ukraine are of course far more serious than mere sport and with so many people putting their lives at risk, support from powerful governing bodies should be given.
Vitali Klitschko feels a sports ban would put added pressure on Putin as well as signal to the Russian people that everyone is against the war.
So it must soon be decision time as far as the May 7 fight is concerned. This really is an issue a boxing governing body has not had to face before. Should Bivol be banned until the conflict comes to an end, or should the fight, currently set for Las Vegas, be allowed to go ahead?