Dmitry Bivol’s unification fight with Artur Beterbiev is back on, and it has been scheduled for October 12 to open Riyadh Season in Saudi Arabia.

They were due to fight last night (June 1) but Beterbiev – the WBC, IBF and WBO champion – tore his meniscus and the fight was shelved.

WBA ruler Bivol stayed on last night’s card, defeating Malik Zinad in six rounds having floored him in the opening session. 

After the fight, the chairman of the General Entertainment Authority Turki Alalshikh, the hugely influential figure charged with making Saudi Arabia the destination for big-time boxing that it is becoming, announced the new date.

“We announce now… the undisputed fight, Bivol-Artur on the 12th of October in the opening season of Riyadh Season. Thank you so much,” said Alalshikh.


Then, addressing Bivol, he said: “You are one of the best fighters ever, you deserve this and you know we offer you four or five big fights. We want to see you against Benavidez, we want to see you against Opetaia, we want to see you against the top people. And now focus on the 12th October, there will be five belts in the ring and we hope you enjoy it in Saudi Arabia.” 

Bivol improved to 23-0 (12 KOs) with victory over Zinad. Thirty-nine-year-old Beterbiev is 20-0 (20 KOs).

Alalshikh also welcomed Zinad’s game challenge of Bivol, and extended an invitation for him to return to Saudi Arabia having taken the daunting assignment at just a month’s notice.

“I am proud of Zinad,” said Alalshikh. “And his father. I invite you to come to fight in the Kingdom in October or December. You deserve it. You stayed until the sixth-round against one of the best fighters in the world. You know the kind of Bivol, Artur, Crawford, Inoue… They are not human. You know? They are machines. For that, you deserve that fight.”