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Announced: Dmitry Bivol vs. Umar Salamov on Dec.11th in Russia

Dmitry Bivol boxing photo and news image

By Allan Fox: Matchroom Boxing announced today that Dmitry Bivol would be defending his WBA light heavyweight title next against little-known contender Umar Salamov on December 11th at the KRK “Uralets,” Ekaterinburg, Russia.

The 6’3 1/2″ Salamov (26-1, 19 KOs) is ranked #3 with the WBO, but he’s never fought any high-level contenders before during his nine-year professional career.

Salamov’s most notable opposition are these fighters: Doudou Ngumbu, Bob Ajisafe, Brian Howard, Norbert Nemesapati, and Norbert Dabrowski.

Salamov = zero noteworthy wins on his resume

None of those guys are contender-level fighters, and that’s why it’s difficult to understand why Salamov is ranked in the top 15 at 175. In 2017, Salamov lost to little-known Australian Damien Hooper by a 10 round unanimous decision.

For some reason, Salamov didn’t fight Hooper in a rematch to avenge the loss. That’s a red flag that Salamov didn’t fight Hooper again, but it was bad enough to lose him in the first place.

Hooper wasn’t a top-tier fighter at the time, and it appears now that he’s no longer active with his career.

Bivol vs. Salamov will likely be shown on DAZN, which is a good thing for boxing fans interested in the career of the WBA 175-lb champion.

Salamov, 27, had been scheduled to challenge WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr. for his title, but that fight fell through, so now he’s set to take on Bivol for his belt.

Bivol in the Canelo lottery

Bivol-Salamov makes sense in a couple of ways: First of all, it ensures that Bivol (18-0, 11 KOs) isn’t beaten before he gets the chance to defend against superstar Canelo Alvarez in 2022 or 2022.

The money that Bivol can make fighting Canelo would be millions, as we’ve seen in the Mexican star’s recent fights against Caleb Plant and Billy Joe Saunders.

Canelo transformed those average fighters into millionaires by fighting them. That being the case, Bivol must stay in a holding pattern as the WBA 175-lb champion for as long as possible until Canelo gets around to fighting him in 2022 or 2023.

Dmitry Bivol boxing photo and news image

Secondly, Bivol looked horrible in his last title defense against Craig Richards last May, appearing timid, gunshy, and was out-punched by the little-known British domestic level fighter.

Bivol was lucky to win the fight, as Richards outworked and outfought him from the fourth round on. With the way Bivol fought against Richards, it’s too risky for the Russian champion to take on one of the good contenders in the 175-lb division, as he’d likely lose.

These are the fighters that Bivol needs to avoid at all costs to stay in position for the Canelo lottery:

  • Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez
  • Joshua Buatsi
  • Maxim Vlasov
  • Lyndon Arthur
  • Callum Johnson
  • Anthony Yarde
  • Badou Jack

While it’s likely that Bivol can beat most of those fighters, it’s still too risky for him to face any of them while he waits on the massive payday fight against Canelo.

Unbeaten former WBO super middleweight champion Gilberto Ramirez (42-0, 28 KOs) has been quite vocal about getting a title shot against Bivil, and some boxing fans believe the Russian fighter is avoiding him.

Ramirez would have been the far better option for Bivol to be defending against if he wanted to build a fight against Canelo into a huge one in the U.S.

Of course, with the way Bivol looked against Craig Richards, his chances of defeating Ramirez would be pretty low.

The same would go for Bivol if he were to defend against Joshua Buatsi or Maxim Vlasov. As far as this writer is concerned, these are excellent fighters competing at a higher level than Bivol right now.

If Bivol can get a fight against Canelo, we’re probably talking about him potentially getting a payday of $6 million up to $10 million for that match.

That’s a ton of money for one fight, which is why it’s essential that Bivol not take any risks until he gets the Canelo payday.

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