Reigning fighter of the year Dmitry Bivol has had a forgettable 2023. 

After decisively beating Canelo Alvarez and Gilberto Ramirez in a banner 2022, the WBA light heavyweight champion has failed to enter the ring so far this year, joining a growing list of top fighters who are inactive.

Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn is looking to change that as soon as the calendar turns to 2024.

“[Bivol] looks to return in January, possibly January 13 in Las Vegas, and then we want to make the [Artur] Beterbiev fight. There’s been a few approaches about that fight,” Hearn told Pro Boxing Fans.

The WBC, WBO and IBF champion Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) and Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) had an impromptu faceoff in Saudi Arabia during the week of the Tyson Fury-Francis Ngannou crossover clash, adding further anticipation to their much-desired undisputed light heavyweight title fight.

But Beterbiev quipped that Bivol only talks about fighting and never fights.

Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) will also be fighting on Jan. 13 against former super middleweight titlist Callum Smith (29-0, 21 KOs) in Quebec City, Canada. The fight was originally supposed to take place Aug. 19 but the show was postponed when Beterbiev suffered a bone infection to his jaw and underwent surgery.

Hearn said he has a handful of opponents in the mix for Bivol’s return, and that an announcement for the fight is imminent. And should Bivol win, a fight to crown an undisputed champion should follow no matter the victory between Beterbiev and Smith. 

“I truly believe Callum Smith wins that fight by knockout,” said Hearn, who promotes Smith. “So, if we can do Callum Smith against Bivol for undisputed, even better. So, we’ll have to see.”

Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer, and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and the MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, through email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at], or via