Eddie Hearn hasn’t enjoyed much luck in purse bids this year but has mastered the art of avoiding them.
Matchroom Boxing and Golden Boy Promotions were able reach a deal at the eleventh hour for a terrific WBA light heavyweight title fight between defending champ Dmitry Bivol and unbeaten mandatory challenger Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez. The development was sufficient enough for the WBA to call of a purse bid hearing to have taken place Sunday afternoon via Zoom conference call.
“The World Boxing Association auction between Dmitry Bivol and Gilberto Ramírez, due to be held on today, was suspended,” the sanctioning body announced Sunday via social media. “[B]oth sides reached an agreement to fight on November 5 in United Arab Emirates.”
Miraculous progress was made in the days following the WBA’s decision to reject a special permit submitted by Hearn on behalf of Bivol seeking an exception from his mandatory. The hope was to have the unbeaten 31-year-old champ from Saint Petersburg, Russia to next face Joshua Buatsi (16-0, 13KOs)—a 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist whom Matchroom promotes—on a show in the fall rumored to take place in Abu Dhabi.
The rejection by the WBA came on the eve of the 30-day negotiation period assigned for Matchroom and Golden Boy to have worked out terms for the ordered Bivol-Ramirez title fight. It was clear that no such talks took place during that time, though the two sides were able to find common ground to avoid serving at the mercy of the highest bidder.
“Straight up to close another brilliant fight this morning,” Hearn stated in a tweet tagging Golden Boy president Eric Gomez and DAZN, which will stream the event. “Bivol v Ramirez done for November 5th! Full details dropping soon.”
Bivol (20-0, 11KOs) is coming off a career-best win. The 31-year-old Kyrgyzstan-born, Russian-based champ thoroughly outboxed undisputed super middleweight champion and then-pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez this past May 7 in Las Vegas. The WBA waited out Alvarez’s decision to enforce an immediate rematch clause in the contract. The Mexican superstar instead moved forward with a trilogy clash against Gennadiy Golovkin.
Ramirez (44-0, 30KOs)—a former WBO super middleweight titlist from Mazatlan, Mexico—advanced to the mandatory position following a fourth-round knockout of Dominic Boesel in their final eliminator on May 14 in Ontario, California. The fight was placed one week after Bivol-Alvarez, to keep both fighters on the same schedule.
The announcement marks the second confirmed Golden Boy fight to take place on November 5. The Los Angeles-based promotional outfit previously revealed plans for a fight between former IBF junior lightweight titlist Joseph Diaz Jr. and unbeaten lightweight contender William Zepeda to fall on that date. It remains uncertain as this goes to publish whether the fights will be paired together or serve as a day-night doubleheader on DAZN.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox