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Dmitry Bivol ready for Sullivan Barrera


By Allan Fox: Dmitry Bivol says he’s now ready to defend his WBA light heavyweight title against his mandatory challenger Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) following his 10 round unanimous decision last Saturday night over Felix Valera (15-2, 13 KOs) at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Bivol attended the Barrera vs. Valera fight. However, Bivol didn’t just come to see those two fighters. He was also interested in the main event fight between former light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and Vyacheslav Shabranskyy. Kovalev captured the vacant WBO light heavyweight title in stopping Shabranskyy in round 2. Bivol says he would like to fight Kovalev in a unification fight.

With Barrera’s win over Valera, he’s now the mandatory challenger to the 26-year-old Bivol and ready to challenge him for his WBA 175 lb. title next year. Bivol says the fight with Barrera will happen if they can get it negotiated. Even then, the fight will happen unless Bivol wants to vacate his WBA title. He has no choice but to fight Barrera now that he’s the mandatory challenger to his WBA title.

“I want to fight him,” said Bivol to “He has beaten a lot of good fighters in the division. Barrera moves, he can box, he’s pretty quick and has good punching power. He’s got a lot going for him.”

Barrera has beaten these well-known guys since 2014:

• Joe Smith Jr.

• Felix Valera

• Vyacheslav Shabranskyy

• Rowland Bryant

• Karo Murat

• Jeff Lacy

Bivol plans on fighting in March, according to his manager Vadim Kornilov.

Bivol and Barrera now share a common opponent in Felix Valera. Barrera beat Valera by a 10 round unanimous decision by the scores 98-88, 97-90 and 97-89. For his part, Bivol beat Valera by a 12 round unanimous decision last year in 2016 in beating him by the scores 119-107, 119-107 and 116-111. Bivol knocked Valera down 2 times in the fight. Barrera knocked Valera down once. Bivol didn’t have a referee that was docking Valera points for low blows all night long like Barrera did. The referee that worked the Barrera-Valera fight penalized Valera 3 times for low blows.

You almost have to subtract those point deductions entirely to get a clear picture about the Barrera vs. Valera fight, because the referee was seemingly out of control with him taking points away for low blows. If anything, Valera should have had only 1-point deduction in this writer’s opinion, not 3. It was a crazy fight to watch.

“He didn’t look good against Andre Ward, but we know Ward is the sort of fighter that it is extremely hard to look good against,” said Bivol about Barrera.

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