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Dmitry Bivol interested in Beterbiev undisputed clash at 175

Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol boxing photo

By Sam Volz: WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol says he’s interested in an undisputed match with IBF/WBC/WBO 175-lb champion Artur Beterbiev.

The undefeated Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) added the WBO title to his growing collection of titles last Saturday night with a second-round technical knockout of champion Joe Smith Jr at Madison Square Garden in New York.

After the fight, Beterbiev told ESPN that he prefers an undisputed clash with WBA 175-lb champion Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) over a title defense against WBO mandatory Anthony Yarde.

According to promoter Frank Warren, Beterbiev will need to vacate his WBO title if he chooses not to fight Yarde next because he’s his mandatory. If that’s the case, Beterbiev will need to decide whether to give up the WBO belt or not.

For the 37-year-old Beterbiev, he should fight Bivol now rather than wasting a fight against Yarde, who the casual U.S boxing fans have no idea is, and the ones who do know of him remember his 11th round knockout loss to a washed-up Sergey Kovalev in 2019.

What Beterbiev doesn’t need is to have a fight against Bivol pushed into 2023 because his age is too advanced for that crucial clash to be moved to next year due to Yarde. Bivol is too good of a fighter for Beterbiev to be facing at age 38.

If Beterbiev vacates his WBO title, he can pick it up next year if he gets past Bivol. It’s unlikely that Yarde will be the one that picks up the vacant WBO title because he would need to beat either #2 Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez or #3 Callum Smith, and those guys would likely beat him easily.

“Yes, of course, it is my goal,” Bivol said to Sky Sports about an undisputed match at 175. “I watched the [Artur Beterbiev vs. Joe Smith Jr] fight. As I have said before, I am very excited about unifying all the belts in the division.”

Yarde’s loss to an over-the-hill 36-year-old Kovalev showed his level, and he hasn’t beaten anyone of note since then aside from these domestic-level fighters:

  • Alex Theran (23-8)
  • Lyndon Arthur (19-1)
  • Diego Jair Ramirez (4-52-3)
  • Doc Spelman (18-5)

Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum wants him to go to England and defend against Yarde (22-2, 21 KOs) next. It’s unclear whether the fight is a done deal or not.

It would be a good idea for Arum to work with Beterbiev rather than push him to fight someone he’s not interested in facing. The last thing Arum needs is an unhappy Beterbiev.

Yarde is a contender, but he’s been operating more on the domestic/European circuit in opposition during his seven-year professional career. The 30-year-old recently avenged a loss to domestic-level fighter Lyndon Arthur after losing to him in their first fight in 2020.

Unification fights are more interesting, more motivating,” Beterbiev said last Saturday night moments after his win over Smith Jr when asked about his thoughts on potentially defending against WBO mandatory Yarde.

“I prefer the unification fight. I want to be undisputed,” said Beterbiev.

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