As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, Mexico’s Gilberto Ramirez (44-0, 30KOs) will challenge WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) on November 5 in Abi Dhabi.
The title shot opportunity did not come easy - with Ramirez pushing for the shot for some time and eventually securing the opportunity after the WBA ordered Bivol to face him.
Ramirez has a theory as to why it took so long to land the fight.
“I feel like his team doesn’t want him to fight me,” Ramirez told BoxingScene.com. “It’s a big fight and they know he can lose.”
To Ramirez’s point, Matchroom Boxing sought to have Bivol (20-0, 11KOs) first face England’s Joshua Buatsi (16-0, 13KOs) in a voluntary defense. The WBA rejected an appeal seeking permission for an exemption, thus leading to the upcoming mandatory defense.
Bivol has made eight successful defenses, none bigger than his most recent win. The 31-year-old from Saint Petersburg, Russia by way of Tokmak, Kyrgyzstan is coming off a twelve-round, unanimous decision over Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-2-2, 39KOs), thoroughly outclassing the Mexican superstar in their May 7 DAZN Pay-Per-View headliner at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Golden Boy Promotions had Ramirez headline a May 14 DAZN show, keeping him on course to face Bivol without having to wait any longer than necessary. The Mexican southpaw did his part, knocking out Germany’s Dominic Boesel in the fourth round of their WBA-sanctioned final eliminator.
A two-month wait came before the WBA formally ordered the title fight, enough time for Matchroom to seek out alternate plans—but not enough time to get Ramirez out of the way.
“They wanted to get him another fight, maybe get him a little more money,” theorized Ramirez. “But everyone wants to see this fight, not (Bivol-Buatsi).
“We are two warriors in the ring and it’s a fight that people want to see.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox