Bivol – Buatsi & Beterbiev – Smith doubleheader planned for June 3rd in Abu Dhabi
By Brian Webber: Eddie Hearn is planning a massive June 3rd doubleheader in Abu Dhabi, headlined by Dmitry Bivol defending his WBA light heavyweight title against his #1 challenger Joshua Buatsi, with IBF, WBC & WBO 175-lb champion Artur Beterbiev battling his WBC mandatory Callum Smith.
Hearn says the card can “absolutely” happen, and he’s eager to put it together to set up two other big fights involving Bivol facing Beterbiev for the light heavyweight undisputed championship and Bivol fighting Canelo Alvarez in a rematch later this year in September.
The downside of Hearn’s plans is that the Bivol-Beterbiev fight would be delayed until possibly December or early next year.
It would be really pushing it for the Bivol vs. Beterbiev fight to take place in December because Dmitry would need to jump right back into training camp after his rematch with Canelo in September, and that’s probably not going to happen, given that he’s going to need to rest, recover and put weight back on. Bivol could be fighting Canelo for his 168-lb championship, which would involve losing weight.
“We want to bring a massive fight to Abu Dhabi. With Dmitry Bivol, when you talk about him right now, June the 3rd is a little bit early for Beterbiev because it’s off the back of Ramadan,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social.
“The Canelo Alvarez fight is there for Bivol in September, but Bivol also needs to fight because he’s not waiting until September to fight, so you bring in the Buatsi fight, for example.
“So does Beterbiev fight Callum Smith, and we do a doubleheader. Beterbiev-Smith & Bivol-Buatsi. It’s a great card for the UK. Absolutely,” said Hearn when asked if it’s realistic to have these two fantastic fights on the same card on June 3rd. “We’ll see what happens, but it’s exciting.”
Whether Buatsi is the best option for Bivol is unclear because he’s not a marketable name in the United States or even in his home country of the UK. Obviously, Buatsi is with Hearn; he’s a 2016 British Olympic bronze medalist and well-known to hardcore boxing fans in the UK.
As a result, Hearn is eager to have Bivol face him rather than one of the other contenders from the 175-lb division. Look at it this way.
If Buatsi beats Bivol, it works well for Hearn because it would still be one of his Matchroom stable fighters that faces Beterbiev for the undisputed championship, and it sets up an eventual rematch.
Having seen Buatsi fight many times, it’s implausible he beats Bivol, but there’s always a chance of that happening. Again, if Bivol were to lose, it’s still suitable for Matchroom because one of their guys will face Beterbiev for all the chips.
Fans would prefer to see Bivol fight Beterbiev in June rather than the two taking interim fights against Buatsi and Callum. However, the problem with that is Beterbiev is coming off Ramadan on April 21st, and he’s going to need more time to prepare for a talented fighter like Bivol.
Beterbiev can probably handle Callum Smith without a ton of preparation because he’s a basic come-forward type of slugger, but Bivol is a lot more complicated, and it could take many months of practice to get ready for his style.
Further, Beterbiev’s promoters at Top Rank aren’t going to want him to rush into a fight against Bivol after just four months of coming off Ramadan.
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