Beterbiev wants Bivol next after destroying Yarde
By Brian Webber: Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) took care of his last hurdle remaining between him and an undisputed championship fight at 175 by stopping his WBO mandatory Anthony Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) in the eighth round on Saturday night to retain his IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight titles in London. Beterbiev pounded the living daylights out of Yarde, dropping him in the eighth and scoring a stoppage after his corner had the fight waved off.
In the post-fight interview, Beterbiev told the interviewer, “I want Bivol.” What’s unclear is whether Beterbiev will get that fight next because WBA champion Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) will be fighting in April or May, likely against Joshua Buatsi, and after that, he could be facing Canelo Alvarez in September in a rematch.
If Bivol can’t fight for the undisputed championship this year, it means Beterbiev must defend against his WBC mandatory Callum Smith next. That’ll be an interesting fight for Beterbiev to continue to build his fan base, particularly in the UK. Callum has excellent power and will meet Beterbiev head-on, looking to match him punch for punch.
Beterbiev was prepared for Yarde’s power
“For all those punches, we prepared. That’s why I came back. I expected those punches,” said Artur Beterbiev after the fight when asked how he kept coming back after Anthony Yarde had him against the ropes and seemingly hurt.
“I hope one day that I’ll be a good boxer. I’ll take this job more pleasant than another one,” said Beterbiev when asked if he’d like to fight Dmitry Bivol next. “I want Bivol. In this fight, we have four belts. It’s a really good fight, I think.”
“Everybody wants to see the undisputed. Who do you see as the favorite? You see the boxing skills of Bivol but the destructive power of Beterbiev,” said Bernardo Osuna of ESPN+, discussing what’s next for Beterbiev following his win over Yarde.
“I’m always going to lean toward a guy that can box and move as well as Bivol because he can do multiple different things. We know that Bivol can do, but in a different way,” said Andre Ward.
“His boxing is more subtle, but as soon as you say that, you think about the power and everything that Beterbiev brings to the table. It’s a big, big fight. I love this fight for both guys because it’s a big bag for both, and it’s legacy-defining.
“A lot of people took the win away for Bivol over Canelo Alvarez,” said Ward. “They took it away from Bivol. They said he was the bigger guy. He didn’t call Canelo Alvarez. Canelo called him and miscalculated what he thought he was physically & mentally.
“He calculated wrong, and then you see on the back end and doesn’t get full credit,” Ward said about Bivol. “If he beats Beterbiev, they can’t take that away from him. That’s going to be a career-defining fight, and I’m sure it’s going to be a career payday for both guys, and it’s a fight that everybody wants to see.”
Artur’s technique never faltered
“Let me say about the technique and the form. It never faltered,” said Tim Bradley about Beterbiev. “He stays the same. Beterbiev is patient; he’s poised, he’s calm, even under fire. You don’t see the wild punches. You see sharp, accurate. These shots come right out, ‘Pow.’
“He doesn’t wind up, he doesn’t load up on anything. He doesn’t telegraph shots. He’s just right there, ‘Bam-bam,'” Bradley said of Beterbiev. “He’s able to conserve a lot more energy that way and not lose technique.
“All that jittery movement that Andre alluded to early on, he doesn’t have that. I studied film [on Beterbiev & Yarde], and I knew this was going to happen. I thought it would happen later.
“Bivol is going to win this fight. There’s no doubt,” Bradley said about his belief that Bivol will defeat Beterbiev. “Did you see how many shots he [Beterbiev] got hit tonight? He got hit with a lot of flush combinations, and Bivol can do that all night.
“If they do fight or when they do fight, don’t be surprised if you see Bivol step to Beterbiev because if Yarde can step to Beterbiev, Bivol can step to Beterbiev and he’s going to push him back, and he’s also going to fight him off the back foot. There’s no doubt about it.
“I’m telling you right now that Bivol is going to be the undisputed champion this year. That’s my big prediction for 2023 that Bivol will capture all those titles, and he will dethrone that man,” said Bradley.
“When you look at this man, the reason you see Bivol beating him, but he’s the same guy against all these guys,” said Osuna about Beterbiev. “Some of them hit harder than Bivol and are boxers.
“For example, Gvozdyk, we thought he was going to be able to outbox Beterbiev, and then what happened?”
“Yeah, but he checked out mentally,” said Bradley diminishing Beterbiev’s stoppage win over former WBC light heavyweight champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2018. “He hit him with a big shot, but he checked out mentally. Bivol isn’t going to check out mentally.”
“Did he check out mentally, or did he beat him into submission?” said Osuna about Beterbiev.
“Beterbiev gave Gvozdyk reasons to check out, right?” said Ward. “I also had questions about Gvozdyk’s mentality going into the fight. I didn’t have answers, but I got answers in the fight with Beterbiev.”
Bivol the next test for Beterbiev
“You see things that you just wonder about, and you can only find out about them when you’re matched against the right guy,” said Ward about Beterbiev. “I’m not saying hands down that Bivol is going to win the fight. You’ve got to account for the power and the physical strength of Beterbiev.
“Every time he’s facing this type of guy, ‘Oh, he should give him trouble,’ he seems to find a way [to win]. But to Tim’s point, it’s hard to pick against Bivol, especially where he’s at right now. With him coming off the Canelo situation, he’s really, really good boxer,” Ward said about Bivol.
“He’s got to prove that he can take the punch and the mental game together. He showed in the Canelo situation. There’s not a bigger stage right now than to be fighting Canelo Alvarez,” said Ward.
“He beats Canelo, and then he goes and fights Zurdo, and then he bags Zurdo, who is a pressure fighter, who is big at 200+ lbs when he steps foot in that ring, and he pushed him back and beat him at his own game and then outboxed him at the same time.
“Those little lulls that you saw in the ring with Beterbiev. That was from not being active enough; that was from age. That, to me, is a little bit of slippage in his game. He got hit. Did you see his face? I mean, he got hit with a lot of shots.
“Now imagine Bivol with how precise and accurate he is with his punches, how he maintains distance, how he has the high guard with the defense, and the quick step back. There’s a lot to worry about with a fighter like Bivol, man.
“I still want to see it. I think Beterbiev has a puncher’s chance, no doubt about it. It’s not going to be easy. He’s going to take a lot of leather before he lands that one shot, but Bivol all day,” said Bradley.
“Even though Bivol had that Zurdo fight, I think he’s still riding on the wave of that Canelo fight,” said Ward. “I’m talking about internal like Tim said about confidence. “There’s something about dealing with that magnitude of media, pressure, and being in there and performing on the night when nobody expects you to.
“The only advantage they gave you was size,” said Ward about fans only seeing Bivol as having the size advantage over Canelo. “Well, Canelo should be able to do what he always does and break you down and eventually get to you. He’s [Bivol] riding on that.
“That’s momentum, and Beterbiev will ride on his Yarde performance, but it’s not the same,” said Ward.
“He was dealing with those aspects, but he was dealing with being belittled because of what’s going on in his country, too,” said Bradley about Bivol. “Can you imagine having to deal with that psychologically? Constantly being asked these questions before a big fight, so you know he’s mentally tough because of that.
“I said [about Bivol], ‘Let’s see how he deals with getting his back against the wall.’ You saw what he did with Canelo. I was like, ‘Wow, he’s real, and then when he fought against [Gilberto] Ramirez, and I saw that confidence that you’re talking about Andre. I’m like, ‘This guy is a problem.No doubt; he’s top five pound-for-pound,'” said Bradley about Bivol.
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