Dmitry Bivol remains confident that he’ll have his shot at all the belts in the light heavyweight division, and he’s willing to wait as long as necessary.
The WBA 175-pound titlist from Russia is hoping to unify all four belts in the division next year, possibly against countryman Artur Beterbiev, who currently holds the WBO, WBA, and IBF titles. Beterbiev has a scheduled mandatory defense against Anthony Yarde on Jan. 28 at OVO Arena Wembley in London.
Bivol has repeatedly made it clear that the undisputed fight is his top priority, far more than, say, a rematch with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, whom Bivol defeated earlier this year on points. Alvarez, on the other hand, wants to avenge his loss to Bivol, and is hoping to do so in the fall of next year. An Alvarez fight would represent a substantial payday for Bivol — likely a career high — and making it would be relatively easy as both fighters are promoted by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. But Bivol has thus far refrained from expressing any undue enthusiasm for a rematch.
In a recent interview, Bivol insisted that he does not want to be tethered to Alvarez’s whims, saying he could care less about Alvarez’s plans for 2023, while stating he will stay ‘patient’ for his opportunity to fully unify the light heavyweight class.
“I don’t care about [Canelo’s plans], to be honest,” Bivol told iFLTV. “I don’t want to depend on his decision against who he wants to fight. I just want to fight, I want to fight for belt. If I don’t get this [unification] fight for [all the] belts, give me another fight and I will be patient. One day I will get the fight for the belts.”
“I want to fight for belts,” Bivol added. “Who[ever] has belts, I want to fight him. Just one. Enough. Only for belts.”
The 32-year-old Bivol, who expects to return to the ring in the spring, will be an interested observer in the outcome of the upcoming Beterbiev-Yarde fight. Regardless of who wins that fight, corporate politics will make it difficult for Bivol to get his wish immediately. Beterbiev is backed by Top Rank and Yarde is promoted by Queensberry; the heads of both companies (Bob Arum and Frank Warren, respectively) do not get along with Hearn, Bivol’s promoter, and rarely work with Hearn's Matchroom on fights.
Of Beterbiev-Yarde, Bivol nevertheless is intrigued by the matchup, even if Beterbiev is the clear favorite.
“Yarde looks strong,” Bivol said.” But of course Beterbiev has much more experience than Yarde, amateur experience and he’s good in pro. He’s strong, too. It’s an interesting fight, but Beterbiev is more experienced, [has] more skills I think.”
Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) is coming off a unanimous points win over Gilberto Ramirez in a light heavyweight title defense in November.