By Luke Furman
The World Boxing Association light heavyweight world champion Dmitry Bivol of Russia says a mandatory fight with Sullivan Barrera of Cuba is an excellent opportunity to test his worth.
On November 25 at the Theater in New York's Madison Square Garden, Barrera will face Dominican contender Felix Valera on the undercard of the light heavyweight world title clash between Russia's Sergey Kovalev and Ukrainian Vyacheslav Shabranskyy.
In May of 2016, Bivol dominated his way to a twelve round unanimous decision over Valera.
Barrera is the mandatory challenger to Bivol's world title.
According to Bivol's manager Vadim Kornilov, there is an agreement in place to fight Barrera in the first quarter of the year. Barrera does have the option of going in another direction to take another fight, like a world title clash with Kovalev should he beat Shabranskyy for the vacant WBO world title.
"I think Barrera will, of course, beat Valera. I give it a 90% probability that Barrera will get the victory. He is a Cuban master, a good professional, technically trained. I'm interested in the Barrera and Valera fight. I will be happy to meet Barrera, although a unification fight is also a step forward. But I note, Barrera is a very tough boxer whom many underestimate," Bivol said to Vasily Konov.
"A lot of people only saw his fight with Ward when the American simply outclassed Barrera, but it's Ward and with him almost any fighter would not look good, even our Sergey Kovalev did not look very good with him. It's impossible to judge Barrera based on a fight with Ward, you need to look at his other fights, and then you will realize that Barrera is a tough fighter. This fight will be a big challenge for me, a big test that I want for myself."
Luke Furman covers boxing for bokser.org.