Duva: Bivol is Stepping Up in Barrera Bout, Has a Lot to Prove

By Keith Idec

Dmitry Bivol is the undefeated, defending champion and the favorite to beat Sullivan Barrera when they meet March 3 in New York.

Promoter Kathy Duva believes Bivol is the boxer with more to prove, however, when he battles Barrera in a light heavyweight bout HBO will televise from The Theater at Madison Square Garden. The 27-year-old Bivol (12-0, 10 KOs) will take a step up in class when he defends his WBA 175-pound title against the Cuban contender.

Barrera’s lone loss came against Andre Ward, who was recognized as boxing’s pound-for-pound king when he retired. Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) also has knocked out Vyacheslav Shabranskyy and broke Joe Smith Jr.’s jaw on his way to a convincing, 10-round, unanimous-decision win July 15 in Inglewood, California.


As impressive as Bivol has looked, he was elevated from the WBA’s interim champion to world champion when Ward retired three months ago. The Kyrgyzstan native won that interim title by stopping Samuel Clarkson (20-4, 13 KOs) in the fourth round.

His two title defenses have come against Cedric Agnew (29-3, 15 KOs) and Trent Broadhurst (20-2, 12 KOs), both of whom he knocked out. None of those three aforementioned championship matches went past the fourth round.

“He’s really the one who’s stepping up here,” Duva said, referring to Bivol. “So from that perspective, I can see Barrera’s point [about thinking he can win]. Bivol looks terrific. He appears to have everything. He can punch, he’s very athletic, very focused. I’ve seen some amateur tapes of him that show he’s a far better boxer than we even realize, than he’s had to show in the ring so far.

“But I’ve seen a lot of fighters who’ve looked great against inferior opposition. So let’s see what happens when steps in there with a fighter who’s been in there with one of the very best fighters in the world in Andre Ward. [Barrera] is a fighter who’s stepped in there time and time again in fights that people don’t think he’s gonna win, and then he wins them. So I’ve got to respect that and give him credit. And Bivol’s gonna have to prove that he’s better than them.”

Duva’s company, Main Events, promotes Barrera and is working with Bivol. Main Events also promotes WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KOs), who will defend his title against fellow Russian Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KOs), the IBO champion, in HBO’s main event March 3.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by yoshik on 01-05-2018

Mark my words, Krusher consolidates ALL LHW belts. He beats Bieterbiev easier than people think. Bivol beats Bererra and Krusher beats Bivol. Then Loma and Krusher fight and Loma makes him quit in the sixth. LOL! Lets see which moron…

Comment by Shadoww702 on 01-05-2018

[QUOTE=Rubber Ducky;18385039]Well if the WBA don't enforce their own rules it would be pretty simple for any opponent to take the fighter not enrolled to court to get them stripped. All the details of the fair boxing program is on…

Comment by Rubber Ducky on 01-05-2018

[QUOTE=Shadoww702;18385016]Yeah like the WBA doesn't lie... WBA announced that reducing the titles are their top priority and then sanction secondary titles at Heavyweight and Welterweight[/QUOTE] Well if the WBA don't enforce their own rules it would be pretty simple for…

Comment by Tutsa on 01-05-2018

My question is will SK step up and fight Bivol in his next fight or ***** out !!

Comment by Shadoww702 on 01-05-2018

[QUOTE=Rubber Ducky;18384854]He's fighting for the WBA title, all top 15 fighters from the start of 2018 have to enroll for VADA testing or be stripped of their ranking or titles as per the WBA's fair boxing program. All fighters and…

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