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Dmitry Bivol’s 3-fighter shortlist for October: Ramirez, Buatsi or Callum Smith

Image: Dmitry Bivol's 3-fighter shortlist for October: Ramirez, Buatsi or Callum Smith

By Brian Webber: Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s already planning Dmitry Bivol’s next fight for October, and he’s got three opponents in mind that he’ll be choosing from for the defense of his WBA light heavyweight title.

Bivol (20-0, 11 KOs) is coming off a career-best win over superstar Canelo Alvarez on May 7th, and those two could be meeting for a rematch next May if they get through their fights this year.

In the meantime, Hearn has three top 175-lb contenders that he’ll choose from for Bivol’s next fight in October:

  • Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez – the unbeaten #1 WBA, #2 WBO ranked contender Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs) would make it interesting for Bivol due to his vast cruiserweight size. The former WBO super middleweight champion Zurdo Ramirez is HUGE for the 175-lb division, recently rehydrating to a whopping 203 lbs for his last fight against Dominic Boesel on May 14th.
  • Joshua Buatsi – Hearn could potentially pick the guy for the undefeated WBA 175-lb champion Bivol is 2016 Olympian Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs). Bivol-Buatsi would play out well in the UK and attract a lot of attention. U.S boxing fans would be indifferent to a fight involving Buatsi, however, because he’s from the UK, and only hardcore enthusiasts know of him in the States.Besides a lack of name recognition, Buatsi isn’t charismatic, and his reserved, cerebral personality would make it difficult to get American fans excited at seeing Bivol defend against him.
  • Callum Smith – This would be a good choice for Bivol to fight to deal with a fighter with massive power and size. The former WBA super-middleweight champion Smith (28-1, 20 KOs) lost severely to Canelo Alvarez in a one-sided 12-round defeat in 2020. Still, he looked good in his debut at 175, destroying Lenin Castillo by a second-round knockout last September. Smith would be the easiest of the three for Bivol to defeat, but he would be the most dangerous due to his one-punch power.

I’m planning his next fight now, and that’ll probably be in October, and, of course, he wants the rematch [with Canelo Alvarez],” said Hearn to Behind The Gloves when asked who Dmitry Bivol could fight next. “Canelo Alvarez wants the rematch, but he has to deal with

“Of course, Gilberto Ramirez is there, Joshua Buatsi is there, Callum Smith, and they are all great fighters. We’re planning that, and hopefully, we have an announcement soon.”

The drawback of Bivol fighting one of these three talented light heavyweights is that he could lose, and if that happens, the rematch with Canelo next year will fall apart.

Even if Canelo insists on fighting Bivol again, much of the interest from boxing fans will evaporate. If Hearn wants to increase the chances of Canelo not fighting Bivol again, matching the Russian fighter tough in October could be the way to accomplish that.

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