Dmitry Bivol didn't have too much planned on January 28th, so the WBA light heavyweight champion figured that he would plunk down on his sofa and watch his fellow countrymen in the ring.
On the night, current WBC, IBF, and WBO light heavyweight titlist Artur Beterbiev squared off against Anthony Yarde. For Bivol, he isn’t a prophet but he had a strong feeling that their showdown would be transient. Yet, after each passing round, Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) grew more and more surprised at the length of their clash.
Despite being known as arguably the biggest puncher in the world, some of Beterbiev’s best shots barely phased Yarde. It wasn’t until the ninth frame where his chin finally imploded. Although he officially went out in a blaze of guts and glory, Bivol stood on his feet and applauded the Brit contender for giving it all he had.
“I was surprised,” Bivol told Fight Hub TV. “Yarde was faster, he used a lot of his jab. His jab was good. He’s a good fighter.”
Like many, Bivol was dubious that Yarde stood much of a chance. His newfound respect for him, however, has Bivol contemplating whether or not he should give Yarde a second shot on the big stage.
Things have been incredibly slow for the WBA titlist, something that seemed impossible following his standout 2022. During the year, Bivol shoved Canelo Alvarez out of his weight division, while subsequently blasting Gilberto Ramirez just a few months later.
His 2023, on the other hand, has been quiet. With more than half of the year playing out already, Bivol has yet to step through the ropes. And, even more upsetting, the 32-year-old doesn't have a single fight lined up.
Bivol’s options at the moment are a bit on the limited side, but he’s made it known that he would rather face Beterbiev in a full unification bout as opposed to simply defending his title for the heck of it.
Ultimately, Bivol is willing to do whatever it takes to keep ring rust from eroding his skills as he awaits a future clash with Beterbiev. With Yarde performing well, the pound-for-pound star acknowledges that he might be protruding toward the top of his opponent selection.
“Yarde is really interesting opponent. I see he’s progressing. He’s getting better and better.”