Dmitry Bivol to fight in April, Gilberto Ramirez & Badou Jack possibilities
By Chris Williams: Dmitry Bivol says he’ll be defending his WBA Super World light heavyweight title in mid-April against potentially Badou Jack or Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez. Those two fighters were mentioned to Bivol as possible options for his April title defense in the United States. However, the unbeaten Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) could wind up facing someone else entirely if Ramirez and Jack balk at taking the fight.
Former WBO super middleweight champion Ramirez (40-0, 26 KOs) would be an excellent opponent for the 29-year-old Bivol to fight next, but he’s involved in a 4-fighter tournament right now for the vacant WBO 175-lb strap. This is the WBO belt that Canelo Alvarez recently won and then quickly vacated after beating champion Sergey Kovalev last November.
Bivol to fight in April
“In February, we hope to leave for the United States in order to conduct a battle somewhere in mid-April,” said Bivol to sport.ru on his next fight. “We were asked if we want [a fight] with Gilberto Ramirez or Bad [Badou] Jack. Of course, we want. These are good boxing names that are interesting to me,” Bivol said.
Bivol needs to step it up already, as he’s not been fighting the guys that boxing fans have wanted to see him face. Fan want to see Bivol take on IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev, Canelo Alvarez, Oleksandr Gvozdyk or Joshua Buatsi.
Bivol has beaten these fighters in successful title defenses of his WBA 175-lb belt since 2017:
- Lenin Castillo
- Jean Pascal
- Joe Smith Jr.
- Isaac Chilemba
- Sullivan Barrera
- Trent Broadhurst
Those fights have consumed three years of Bivol’s career, and none have vaulted him to superstar status. Bivol might need to consider bailing on the light heavyweight division, and dropping down to 168 if he wants to become a star. There’s just not enough big names at 175, and the fights aren’t getting made. Beterbiev vs. Bivol would be a great fight, but it’s failed to happen
Ramirez unlikely to face Bivol
It’s not realistic for Bivol to count on Ramirez, 28, taking the fight, as he has a better shot at winning the vacant WBO belt. Bivol is arguably too advanced for the 6’2″ Top Rank promoted Ramirez.
Gilberto held the WBO 168-lb title from 2016 to 2019, but he never fought any of the talented fighters in the division. Some boxing fans saw Ramirez as a carefully matched paper champion, who was put in with a lot beatable guys during his three years as the WBO super middleweight champion.
These are the fighters Ramirez defeated as the WBO 168lb champ:
- Jesse Hart x 2
- Maksym Bursak
- Habib Ahmed
- Roamer Alexis Angulo
Ramirez left the super middleweight division without having faced the good fighters like David Benavidez, Caleb Plant, Canelo Alvarez, Callum Smith or Billy Joe Saunders.
Badou Jack hasn’t won a fight since 2017
The 36-year-old Badou (22-3-3, 13 KOs) is on the decline, having lost his last 2 fights, and he hasn’t won a match since defeating Nathan Cleverly by a 5th round knockout three years ago in August 2017. Although some boxing fans believe Jack deserved the victory in his 12 round draw against former WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis ‘Superman’ Stevenson in May 2018, the fact is he didn’t get the win.
Badou took a major shellacking from Stevenson in the first 8 rounds of the fight. To Badou’s credit, he did come back strong to get the better of Stevenson in the championship rounds [9-12], it wasn’t enough.
There’s no upside for Bivol in facing Jack other than adding his name to his resume. For that fight to make sense, Bivol’s promoters would need to be counting on the casual boxing fans being attracted to the fight due to them remembering some of Jack’s fights in the distant past.
Bivol’s best bet is to move to 168 to chase Canelo
It would be better for Bivol to drop the WBA belt, and then move down to 168 to go after Canelo, Callum Smith, Saunders, Plant and Benavidez. Bivol, a small 17-pounder, could shake things up in a hurry at super middleweight. At super middleweight, Bivol would be in a position to potentially gt fights against Canelo and Golovkin.
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