WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol is holding his nose at the World Boxing Council's position on preventing Russian and Belarusian boxers from being ranked or competing for their world titles.
Bivol is very interested in facing WBC, WBO, IBF champion Artur Beterbiev in a full division unification.
Beterbiev, although born in Russia, has lived in Canada and represented the country for the last 16 years. However, Beterbiev does have strong ties to Russia and visits the country.
World Boxing Council President Mauricio Sulaiman has made it clear that his organization would not sanction a fight between Beterbiev and Bivol - because of Bivol being a Kyrgyzstani-born Russian. They would allow Beterbiev to go forward with the fight, but the WBC title would not be up for grabs.
The WBC's position is directly connected to Russia's invasion of neighboring country Ukraine. The sanctioning body will not change their position until the war between Russia and Ukraine has concluded.
Obviously Bivol does not agree with their position, as do most fans, because many feel the sanctioning body is mixing politics with the sport.
“Of course it’s not fair,” Bivol told Seconds Out. “How could [someone] say, ‘I am the champion of the world,’ if somebody from some country couldn’t fight for your belt? But this guy could be better than you.
“It’s not fair. And this guy is just training, spending his time in the gym, and he’s not allowed to fight. He’s the same [as] you, he’s just living in a different apartment in a different place, but he’s working the same [as] you.
“He’s training, he’s fighting, his mentality is similar, but why is he not allowed to fight? It’s not fair.”