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Can Dmitry Bivol get motivated for Joshua Buatsi?

Image: Can Dmitry Bivol get motivated for Joshua Buatsi?

By Dan Ambrose: Dmitry Bivol could be defending his WBA light heavyweight title against #1 ranked Joshua Buatsi next in May or June if Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn gets his way.

Hearn is eager to have Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) face Buatsi (16-0, 12 KOs) in an in-house Matchroom fight, where Canelo Alvarez faces another one of his fighters in his stable, John Ryder on May 6th.

The question is whether Bivol can get properly motivated for a simple title defense against the 29-year-old Bivol because he brings less to the table than his last two opponents, Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez and Canelo. Buatsi isn’t popular, even in England, and he’s an unknown as far as casual and hardcore boxing fans.

While it works in Hearn’s favor to have Bivol put Buatsi on the map by giving him a title shot, it does nothing for him.

Bivol would much rather fight IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev for the undisputed championship in a legacy-fight or face Canelo again to make a ton of money.

Fighting Buatsi only helps the British fighter and, of course, Hearn, who promotes the guy. If Bivol can’t get Beterbiev or Canelo next, he’d be better off fighting someone that the U.S. and UK fans are familiar with and that he can get up for, not some unknown fighter without a fan base.

“That’s a good fight. There are a lot of questions and a lot of answers with Joshua Buatsi in terms of opposition. I think a lot depends on what Dmitry Bivol we get,” said Callum Smith to Matchroom Boxing when asked his assessment of a potential fight between WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol and Joshua Buatsi next.

“We know that Bivol, leading up to the Canelo fight, had seemed to have plateaued out a little bit and really wasn’t setting the world alight, but then boxed very well against Canelo and then boxed very well against Gilberto Ramirez, in my opinion.

“So, he seems to have found his form again, and when he’s like that, Bivol is a very tough fighter to beat. The one before that against Umar Salamov and Craig Richards is probably beatable.

“So a lot depends on how motivated he is to go back and fight Joshua Buatsi when ideally, he wants to fight Canelo Alvarez or Artur Beterbiev.

“So, I think that fight [Bivol-Buatsi] depends on which Bivol turns up. It’s a good fight. Buatsi is a good fighter. Good luck to him; he’s a Britain. Those are the type of fighters that you want to see earn the shot,” said Callum about Buatsi potentially getting a fight against WBA 175-lb champion Bivol.

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