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Dimitry Bivol targeting Canelo Alvarez and Artur Beterbiev

Canelo Alvarez Dmitry Bivol

By Sean Jones: Dimitry Bivol says he’s not looking past his opponent Craig Richards for this Saturday, but he also clarifies that he wants Canelo Alvarez and Artur Beterbiev next.

Bivol defends against British fighter Richards (16-1-1, 9 KOs) this Saturday at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, UK. There’s nothing about the 30-year-old ‘Spider’ Richards that impresses Bivol, but he still respects his power and his ability to score a knockout if he’s able to land his shots.

The WBA light heavyweight champion Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) wants to test himself, and the best way to do that is to fight the top guys.

With IBF/WBC 175-lb champion Beterbiev (16-0, 16 KOs) expected to fight WBO champion Joe Smith Jr next, Bivol may need to wait until either the end of the year or early 2022 before he can face the winner for the undisputed championship of the division.

Canelo, 30, is focused on winning all the belts at 168 at present, and it could consume the rest of the year before he’s available to fight.

“Of course, I would like to fight him at light-heavyweight or super-middleweight because I want to fight the best guys, and he is one of the best,” said Bivol to Sky Sports about his wish to fight Canelo.

It may prove to be a long wait for Bivol if he wants a fight with Canelo, and it would likely require him to move down to 168 for a long period.

Canelo Alvarez Dmitry Bivol

Canelo isn’t going to fight Bivol if his only objective is to come down to super middleweight for the sole purpose of fighting him. I mean, Canelo would obviously fight Bivol in a second if he felt he was an easy mark like Callum Smith, Rocky Fielding, Billy Joe Saunders, or Caleb Plant.

If Canelo thought he could beat Bivol, he’d invite him to come down to 168, and he’d fight him. That’s not the case.

The likely only way Bivol will get a fight with Canelo now is if he does these things:

  • Agrees to a rehydration clause
  • Moves down to 168 long period
  • Beats David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo & Bektemir Melikuziev

“He has a belt. I think about fighting him or the other guys with a belt,” Bivol said of Beterbiev.

“I understand that he works with Top Rank, and they have a plan for him. But I would like to fight. I want to be the best light-heavyweight, so I need to have all four belts.”

Beterbiev has a tough fight ahead of him against Joe Smith Jr this year. Provided that Beterbiev wins that fight and doesn’t get injured or sick again, he might be available to fight Bivol in 2022.

It’s unlikely to happen this year because he’s still not scheduled to fight Smith yet. If Beterbiev waits until September or October to fight Smith, Bivol’s chances of fighting him this year will be nil.

For the time being, Bivol needs to focus on returning to the ring on Saturday to take on Richards. Bivol hasn’t fought since his win over Lenin Castillo in October 2019.

If Bivol wants to get the big fights and maximize the time left in his career, he needs to stay busy from this point on. That means no more year and a half breaks between fights.

Bivol already holds wins over these fighters:

  • Joe Smith Jr
  • Jean Pascal
  • Sullivan Barrera

Richards is coming off a big win over Shakan Pitters last December. That victory was enough to make Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn believe he’s good enough to challenge Bivil for his title.

We’ll see on Saturday if Richards has the talent to give Bivol a tough test. It’s hard to imagine him being able to accomplish that, given his weak resume.


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