The manager of Dmitry Bivol has revealed a shortlist of opponents his team has in mind for his charge’s long awaited return to the ring.
Bivol, the WBA 175-pound titlist from Russia, has not fought since he soundly outpointed Gilberto Ramirez one year ago, in November. Prior to that win, Bivol was coming off the biggest moment of his professional career, a unanimous decision over 168-pound undisputed champion Canelo Alvarez.
There was expectation that Alvarez and Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) would engage in a rematch but it never came to fruition.
In a recent interview, Vadim Kornilov, the longtime manager of Bivol, described the difficulties of trying to arrange Bivol’s next fight, including a protracted but seemingly unsuccessful attempt to broker a deal involving 168-pound contender Jaime Munguia. The former 154-pound titlist from Mexico is promoted by Golden Boy, which has a content deal with DAZN, much like Matchroom, the promoter of Bivol, has its own deal with the streaming platform.
Apart from Munguia, Kornilov said the following opponents are currently in consideration for Bivol’s return the ring, bookmarked for late December of January, most likely in Las Vegas: Radivoje Kalajdzic (28-2, 20 KOs), Ronald Gavril (23-3, 18 KOs), Ahmed Elbiali (23-1, 18 KOs), and Lyndon Arthur (23-1, 16 KOs).
“The main problem really is the opponent, so that’s why there’s the whole holdup in trying to finalize this,” Kornilov told FightHubTV. “First, we spent a lot of time trying to make it work with Munguia. That went back and forth and there were issues on the weight and trying to work it. I understand for Munguia the only upside here for this fight is that they’re both on DAZN. Munguia’s another Mexican, he’s a tough guy, it’s a good fight, but other than that it’s hard to make it because he’s still coming up from 168 and we have to meet him either halfway or go down to 168 which may not be the right thing right now. So that has been holding things back a little bit.
“At this point we have Hot Rod—a guy from Florida, Radivoje Kalajdzic is his name. He’s a guy that fought [unified 175-pound champion Artur] Beterbiev before. There’s also discussions with Ronald Gavril, a guy that fought [168-pound contender David] Benavidez before. I don’t know where he’s at. Or how much he’s in the running. We added him to the list.
“I know there’s been discussion about Ahmed Elbiali and Lyndon Arthur was another guy we were trying to figure out if he would be interested.”
Kornilov is waiting to see which fighters are truly serious about entering the ring with Bivol.
“It just seems like most of these guys are a little bit in their comfort zones in a way, so I’m just waiting on Matchroom and the guys to see which guys are actually interested in the fight,” Kornilov said. “But that’s the bottom down list right now.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.