On Saturday, March 3rd at New York City’s Theater at Madison Square Garden, newly minted WBA world light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol of Russia makes his second defense of the title against Cuba’s streaking Sullivan Barrera, the mandatory challenger.
The contest will be televised by HBO as the co-feature to Sergey Kovalev's defense of the WBO world title against IBO king Igor Mikhalkin.
Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) will be making his New York debut and fights on HBO for the second time.
Bivol had three outings in 2017, and won all three by knockout - against Cedric Agnew in Las Vegas, Samuel Clarkson at Oxon Hill and Trent Broadhurst in Monte Carlo.
Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) also had a big year, with three big wins of his own. He stopped Paul Parker in April, and then dominated Joe Smith for a decision win in July and then won another decision in November against Felix Valera, who also lost a decision last year to Bivol.
Barrera has now won four in a row since a decision loss to Andre Ward in March 2016.
For Bivol, Barrera is his most experienced opponent to date.
The Russian boxer wants to put in a showcase performance on the card.
"The March 3rd fight against Sullivan Barrera is officially confirmed and this is very good news. My future opponent is a Cuban who comes from a fine boxing school, he is a seasoned, experienced fighter. This is exactly the type of opponent and the type of fighter that I strive to face. My main goal for March 3 is to show an entertaining fight and to not let my team down, or my fans," Bivol said.
"I perfectly understand the importance of the forthcoming fight and, of course, I will strive to approach it in my best form. This is a big challenge for me, as Barrera has defeated some strong fighters in his career, so for the victory I need to create a completely special atmosphere in the ring."