By Dan Ambrose: Eddie Hearn says Dmitry Bivol could defend his WBA light heavyweight title against #1 contender Joshua Buatsi next in a voluntary defense to stay busy until his rematch with Canelo Alvarez in September.
The 2016 Olympian Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs) recently beat former Bivol opponent Craig Richards by a grueling 12 round unanimous decision last May in a competitive bout. Buatsi now wants a world title shot, and Hearn, who promotes him, intends on giving one against Bivol.
Buatsi could be a more difficult opponent for Bivol than Canelo and Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez was for him last year, which will be great for the boxing public because he never got out of first gear against those two badly overmatched fighters.
Canelo & his trainer/manager Eddy Reynoso have already let Hearn know that they want the opportunity to face Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) again to try and avenge their defeat against him last May.
Since Canelo (58-2-2, 39 KOs) is planning on taking a warm-up fight against John Ryder on the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend next May, Bivol has got to take a match in the interim while he waits.
“I was shocked when I received a call from Eddy Reynoso, saying, ‘Canelo wants revenge against Dmitry Bivol.’ He [Canelo] wants another bite of the cherry,” said Eddie Hearn to the DAZN Boxing Show. “The way that fight played out, a rematch is extremely dangerous for Canelo Alvarez.
“We also need to provide Dmitry Bivol, in the meantime, a voluntary defense of his WBA 175-lb title because he’s not going to sit around and wait while Canelo defends against a mandatory. Joshua Buatsi might be the guy that gets the voluntary defense [by Bivol],” said Hearn.
Bivol has talked about wanting to fight IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev for the undisputed, but he won’t be able to fight until the second half of the year because he’s got a defense against Anthony Yarde on January 28th and then he has Ramadan from March 22 to April 21st.
On paper, Buatsi is a much tougher opponent than the soft touch that Canelo has in facing Ryder (32-5, 18 KOs. If Bivol elects to take the fight with Buatsi, he’s going to need to be wired and ready for a tough fight because he’s got better power than Ramirez & Canelo. He’s going to be looking to get Bivol out of there with every punch.