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Bivol wants to face Beterbiev in unification match

Artur Beterbiev

By Sean Jones: WBA 175-pound belt holder Dmitry Bivol is reportedly ready to battle IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev in 2020 in a unification match, according to @Tass_Agency. Three world titles at 175 would be on the line for the fight.

Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs) beat WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk (17-1, 14 KOs) by a 10th round knockout last Friday night at the Liacouras Center, in Philadelphia.

Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) has looked sharp since capturing the WBA belt in October 2017. He’s successfully defended his title six times in beating the following fighters:

  • Joe Smith Jr.
  • Jean Pascal
  • Sullivan Barrera
  • Trent Broadhurst
  • Lenin Castillo
  • Isaac Chilemba

Beterbiev vs. Bivol an interesting fight

Beterbiev-Bivol is the next best match that can be made right now. The fans want to see Beterbiev take on the Sergey Kovalev vs. Saul Canelo Alvarez winner, but that might not be possible. Arum doubts that Canelo will agree to fight Beterbiev if he beats Kovalev. Although Kovalev will likely agree to fight Beterbiev, he needs to get passed Canelo first. That’s a tall order for the 36-year-old Kovalev, since he’s the underdog in that fight.

Bivol has gotten a lot of TV time in the United States in the last couple of years, and he’s gaining a following. Some boxing fans see Bivol, 27, as the most highly skilled fighter in the light heavyweight division today. However, Bivol’s lack of size, and punching power will be a problem for him when or if he faces Beterbiev.

As we saw in Beterbiev’s fight last Friday against the talented Gvozdyk, technical skills only care you so far. When you’re facing a puncher like Beterbiev, you need more than just technical ability to beat him. Bivol will likely be over-matched against Beterbiev when that fight takes place in 2020. Unless Bivol can come up with some badly needed power, he’ll wind up as another knockout victim on Beterbiev’s resume.

Beterbiev to defend against Meng Fanlong next

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said last Saturday that Beterbiev has his IBF mandatory that is due against Meng Fanlong that he must face next. Beterbiev was given permission by the IBF to delay his title defense against the 31-year-old Fanlong (16-0, 10 KOs) in order to fight Gvozdyk in a unification match last Friday.

Now that Beterbiev has won that fight, he needs to defend his IBF belt against the 2012 Olympian Fanlong. Arum says he’s already received an offer for Beterbiev to face Fanlong on an island outside of China.

“We are looking at the winner of the fight Kovalev – Alvarez, but Alvarez is unlikely to fight with Beterbiev,” said Arum to about Beterbiev’s next fight. “We also know about the desire to fight Bivol. He will have priority, and after [Beterbiev defends the IBF title [against mandatory Meng Fanlong], we can organize such a fight in 2020,” said Arum.

Fanlong hasn’t beaten anyone notable enough for boxing fans to take notice of him. His best win in his six-year professional career was last November in stopping Frank Buglioni by a 5th round knockout. Earlier last year, Buglioni was stopped in the 1st round by Callum Johnson.

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