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“Dmitry Bivol is the king of the division” said Eddie Hearn

Image: "Dmitry Bivol is the king of the division" said Eddie Hearn

By Sean Jones: Eddie Hearn feels that Dmitry Bivol is the “king of the division” at light heavyweight following his one-sided 12 round unanimous decision victory over a totally overmatched mandatory challenger Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez last Saturday night in Abu Dhabi.

WBA 175-lb champion Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) still needs to face and defeat IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev to claim the #1 position as the king of the division, but that fight is going to need to wait until late 2023 for it to happen, unfortunately.

In the meantime, Hearn wants to match Bivol against Canelo Alvarez next May, possibly at 168 for the undisputed or #2 WBA Joshua Buatsi, who he also promotes.

Buatsi was in attendance for Bivol’s fight against Ramirez last weekend, and he wants to challenge him for the title next.

For Bivol to face Buatsi, it would be a disappointment for boxing fans because they want to see Dmitry face Canelo or Beterbiev rather than a lesser fighter. Buatsi is a similar type of fighter as Craig Richards, and he would be no match for Bivol.

I have to say that Dmitry Bivol is pound-for-pound #1. This guy is so good for so many times. So many people have been telling me this guy is the real deal, and he’s just been looking for the opportunities,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing after Dmitry Bivol’s win over Gilberto Ramirez last Saturday night.

“You’ve got two things. You’ve got Canelo Alvarez, that wants to rematch him, probably under the terms that he lost. Saul is the kind of guy that he doesn’t want people to think that he’s trying to almost change the terms of the fight to benefit him.

“The reason Canelo Alvarez accepted the challenge against Dmitry Bivol is because he was a 175-pounder, and it was a big challenge. But we all know how good Dmitry is now, but can Dmitry make 168?

“He’s always said he could, but he hasn’t done it for a long, long time. So we need to speak to both guys. Dmitry Bivol is about legacy. He wants the belts; he wants the undisputed championship.

“If Beterbiev is going to fight Yarde in February, and then you have Ramadan shortly after, and he’s not available until the second half of the year, Bivol is going to fight.

“If that’s against Canelo Alvarez, then why not at 168 because that would give Bivol the opportunity to become undisputed at 168, and then if he’s successful, then come up and fight Beterbiev to become a two-time undisputed champion within two fights.

“That would be quite sensational, and we’ll have to speak to both teams and both camps and see what’s next.

“Well, again, depending on if the Canelo Alvarez fight gets made, Dmitry Bivol is going to need to fight. So if there’s no Bivol against Canelo and Beterbiev is fighting Yarde and then has Ramadan shortly after, I think Joshua Buatsi is right in the mix for that.

“You’ve got Callum Smith as well. I would like to see the fight between those two. I can’t lie. I know they’re looking for shots at a world title, but that’s a fantastic domestic fight. We’ll have to see. Dmitry Bivol is the king of the division right now.

“He does, and he’s very close to getting it here tonight,” said Hearn about Buatsi looking for a statement fight. “It was quite soul-destroying for him watching it in the ring. Also, look, everything happens for a reason.

“Joshua Buatsi is still learning, he’s still improving under Vergil Hunter, and when you look at Dmitry Bivol, you’d say he’s a favorite over Joshua Buatsi. He’s a favorite over everybody right now.

“I don’t think the time learning and improving under Vergil, and maybe another fight will do Joshua will do him any harm, and he’ll be back in the ring in early next year.

“Obviously, the victory against Canelo Alvarez, the incredible pound-for-pound #1. That victory tonight, I hardly had him losing a round, in all honesty,” Hearn continued bout Bivol.

“I think sometimes these judges give a few consolation rounds as the fight goes on, and it’s so one-sided. Maybe he lost one round, but I think this guy is sensational. I’m absolutely convinced he’s the best 175-pounder in the world.

“Obviously, the Canelo Alvarez rematch is there. The Beterbiev fight for the undisputed is one that he wants as well, and I’m not sure who is going to beat him, in all honesty.

“AJ was sitting next to me and to Joshua Buatsi, and they were talking about the fight, the whole fight. They were talking about Dmitry Bivol, what he does so well, and what Ramirez needs to do.

“It was just so difficult, and as good as Ramirez is, he’s 44-0, he’s a former super middleweight world champion, it was so difficult for him to find a way into the fight.

“He didn’t stop trying, and by the way, he soaked up a lot of punishment in the later rounds. I felt he was hurt earlier in the fight, actually, and it’s just that Dmitry’s feet are so good.

“Every time Ramirez would look to attack, he would be out of range, and also, Bivol looked like he was hardly breathing at the end, in all honesty. He’s super fit; he never marks up, his feet are unbelievable, and his shot selection. He’s an outstanding fighter.

“Yeah, because I think you’re talking about a pound-for-pound great in Dmitry Bivol,” said Hearn about why Bivol easily beat Ramirez.

“Zurdo is an elite-level fighter and a former world champion, but there is another level to the world level, and that’s the elite-level people that we talk about, and that is Bivol all over,” said Hearn.

“They’re signed, and that’s probably going to happen in the sprint of 2023,” said Hearn about Joe Cordina (15-0, 9 KOs) challenging IBF super featherweight champion Shavkatdzhon Rakhimov 17-0-1, 14 KOs).

“Joe Cordina had his operation. He’s back in the gym and not punching with his right yet, but it won’t be too long. That is a tremendous fight. We would have seen a great fight tonight between Cordina and Rakhimov, but you’re going to see a great fight back in Wales in spring 2023 or early summer.

“It’s a tremendous fight for the division and a very tough fight for Joe Cordina. Coming back from the injury, Rakhimov is all action, relentless pressure, and a shout-out to Zelfa Barrett. Maybe even a move up to 135.

“He has a big future. He showed tonight he’s a world-class fighter. He hurt Rakhimov repeatedly in there tonight, and I thought he gave a great effort.

“I must have said something to him at the weigh-in,” said Hearn about his run-in with trainer Freddie Roach. “I said, ‘I think Zelfa is going to beat your guy.’ I think I said, we’re going to have a little bet on it, and he came up to me and said, ‘Where were you with the bet?’

“The first thing I did is I pointed to Joe and Rakhimov, and I said, ‘He’s next,’ and Freddie came over and said, ‘Where was the bet?’ Whoa, whoa, whoa, because I think he was ready to swing for me.

“I was s***ing my pants. He’s a former fighter. I said, ‘That’s over, we didn’t bet on that one, but we can bet on this one [Cordina vs. Rakhimov].’ He was still piping up.

“In the end gave him a cuddle and said, ‘I’m sorry.’

“Rakhimov against Zelfa Barrett, an unbelievable fight. I’ve never been so emotionally pumped for a fight during a fight for a long time, and I love it.

“I really felt Zelfa was going to do it. He picked up an injury on his leg, and they just wouldn’t work. Rakhimov, the pressure was relentless,” said Hearn.


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