Dmitry Bivol finally has his marching orders.
The leading candidate for 2022 Fighter of the Year has been summoned to next make a mandatory defense of his WBA light heavyweight title against number-one contender Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez. The bout was formally ordered by the WBA on Monday afternoon, with the two sides given until August 10 to come to terms to avoid a purse bid hearing.
“Bivol’s champion period is conditioned to a term of 24 months and his last mandatory fight was on March 3, 2018, his next one was to be after March 2020,” Carlos Chavez, chairman of the WBA Championship Committee detailed in a letter to both camps, a copy of which was obtained by BoxingScene.com. “For that reason, he must face Ramirez.
“In case they do not reach an agreement in the given time period or any of the parties refused to do so, the WBA will have the right to call the fight a purse bid.”
Bivol is represented by Matchroom Boxing and career-long manager Vadim Kornilov. Ramirez proudly fights under the Golden Boy Promotions banner and with manager David Suh handling the business side of his career.
Bivol (20-0, 11KOs) is coming off the biggest win of his career and the best performance posted by any boxer thus far in 2022.
The unbeaten long-reigning titlist turned away the challenge of four-division champ and then pound-for-pound king this past May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The 31-year old Kyrgyzstan-born, Russian-based champ was viewed as a clear winner by most observers but had to sweat out absurdly close scorecards of 115-113 across the board to retain his title for the ninth defense of the title he has held since 2017.
Ramirez (44-0, 30KOs) emerged as the mandatory challenger just one week later after a fourth-round knockout of Dominic Boesel in their May 14 title eliminator in Ontario, California. The was the fifth straight at light heavyweight for the Mexican southpaw, who moved up in 2019 after previously reigning as a WBO super middleweight titlist.
There were loose talks of Bivol possibly facing England’s Joshua Buatsi later this year, though such a fight was always at the mercy of the WBA’s ruling. Ramirez was the number two contender at the time of his one-sided win over then number-one ranked Boesel, which made it a no-brainer to order the fight, despite the WBA taking weeks to rule on the matter.
Bivol’s path became clearer once it was learned that Alvarez (57-2-2, 39KOs)—who sought to enforce a rematch clause—was locked into a trilogy fight with longtime rival Gennadiy Golovkin (42-1-1, 37KOs) which takes place September 17 on DAZN Pay-Per-View from T-Mobile Arena. Alvarez was contractually bound to a third clash with Golovkin as part of a multi-fight agreement that brought him back to Matchroom Boxing and DAZN after a one fight absence.
Alvarez will defend his undisputed super middleweight championship in the fight with Golovkin, a two-time and reigning WBA/IBF middleweight titlist who will move up in weight. The global superstar from Guadalajara, Mexico has publicly insisted his intention to again face Bivol provided he prevails on September 17.
It will also require Bivol to conquer Ramirez, who signed with Golden Boy Promotions last year with the intention of running his record to at least 52-0 and winning titles all the way up to heavyweight.
For now, the pair of unbeaten light heavyweights have 30 days to focus on reaching a deal for their next fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox