By Keith Idec
Dmitry Bivol believes a much-discussed showdown with Sergey Kovalev is in his near future.
The unbeaten WBA light heavyweight champion confirmed on a conference call Wednesday that he still expects to face Kovalev in a 175-pound championship unification fight. A Kovalev-Bivol bout could be next if both boxers win their title defenses August 4 in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
“Most likely this fight is gonna happen, since Sergey and I are HBO boxers,” Bivol said through a translator. “And as long as that’s what the people want, most likely the fight will happen. And me and Sergey will make sure to give this fight to the people.”
Kyrgyzstan’s Bivol (13-0, 11 KOs) is scheduled to face South Africa’s Isaac Chilemba (25-5-2, 10 KOs) in the opener of HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader two weeks from Saturday night at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Russia’s Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) is set to defend his WBO light heavyweight title versus Colombia’s Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) in the main event that night.
That two-bout broadcast will mark a second HBO doubleheader that’ll feature Kovalev and Bivol in separate bouts. HBO Sports’ Peter Nelson wants to make Kovalev-Bivol next if the champions win their upcoming fights.
“He’s a very talented guy and maybe in the future we can make a very interesting fight, a unification fight,” Kovalev said recently. “And I’m ready, you know, maybe after this fight. Who knows? I’m ready.”
Published reports last month stated that if Bivol beats Chilemba, he will sign with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and have his fights streamed on DAZN. Vadim Kornilov, Bivol’s manager, has denied that Bivol has agreed to sign with Hearn.
If Bivol were to join Matchroom and DAZN, it could lead to another title unification fight against Artur Beterbiev.
Russia’s Beterbiev (12-0, 12 KOs), the IBF light heavyweight champion, is scheduled to make his first title defense against England’s Callum Johnson (17-0, 12 KOs) on October 6. DAZN will stream the Beterbiev-Johnson fight from Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.