WBA confirms Sullivan Barrera as mandatory for Dmitry Bivol
By Allan Fox: The World Boxing Association has confirmed that #1 WBA Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KOs) is he mandatory challenger to WBA World light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 Kos). The 2 fighters have until July 22 to make the fight between them. If they don’t have an agreement by that date, the WBA will order a purse bid.
Barrera, 35, has had a busy year in 2017 in winning 3 fights against Paul Parker, Joe Smith Jr. and Felix Valera. The wins over Smith Jr. and Valera were impressive ones for the former Cuban amateur standout.
Barrera hasn’t yet made up his mind about whether he’ll take the fight with Bivol or not. There’s a possibility that Barrera could get a crack at WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey ‘Kruzher’ Kovalev. The Krusher may opt to fight Barrera in his first defense. That’s a fight that Barrera would have a better chance of winning than if he were to face the younger 26-year-old Bivol, who is looking very hard to beat right now.
There’s no blue print out there in how to beat Bivol yet like there is with Kovalev. The only question is does Barrera have the inside game to step to Kovalev to nullify his good outside game. Kovalev’s last opponent Vyacheslav Shabranskyy didn’t even try to fight him on the inside, and he ended up getting stopped in the 2nd round. Barrera didn’t look good trying to fight Andre Ward on the inside last year in March. Ward dropped Barrera, and totally dominated the fight. Barrera chose to fight Ward on the outside all night long, and it didn’t work out well for him. Barrera is with the same promoter as Kovalev at Main Events, so that increases the chances that the two fighters could face each other.
Bivol made his first title defense of his WBA 175 belt last month in stopping fringe contender Trent Broadhurts in the 1st round on November 4 in Monte Carlo. Bivol knocked Broadhurst down with a right to the head. Broadhurst was too hurt to get back to his feet. The punch didn’t look like it was that big of a shot. Never the less, Broadhurst was badly hurt and unable to continue fighting.
Bivol could have star potential if he can beat Sullivan Barrera, and then unify the division against Kovalev and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev.
Bivol vs. Barrera would be a good fight for HBO if takes place in 2018. Barrera has improved since his loss to Ward last year. Barrera dominated Shabranskyy in knocking him out, and he beat Felix Valera and Joe Smith Jr. by one-sided decisions.