By Sean Jones: Dmitry Bivol will be coming back from a year layoff to defend his WBA light heavyweight title in December against a still-to-be-determined challenger.
Promoter Eddie Hearn says Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) has had a hand injury that he suffered earlier this year, which is why he’s not fought in 2023. Hearn says contenders Joshua Buatsi, Dan Azeez & Lyndon Arthur were offered the fight with Bivol but didn’t agree to it.
Bivol’s recent dominating performances against Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez and Canelo Alvarez may have scared off some of the contenders, but there are still many excellent options for him to fight in December.
Hearn says that after December’s title defense, the plan is to set up an undisputed fight against the winner of the January 13 fight between IBF, WBC &WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev & Callum Smith.
WBA’s top 10 contenders:
1. Joshua Buatsi
2. Dan Azeez
3. Anthony Yarde
4. Albert Ramirez
5. Richard Rivera
6. Oleksandr Gvozdyk
7. Lyndon Arthur
8. Connor Wallace
9. Ahmed Elbiali
10. Gabriel Diaz
Boxing fans would like to see Bivol take on former WBC 175-lb champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk or Richard Rivera next. Those would be good fights if Hearn can put them together.
“He’s been out with a hand injury for a while now, but he’s back training, and he’s ready to fight in December,” said Eddie Hearn to Seconds Out’s site about the return of WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, who hasn’t fought since last year in November.
“We offered Dan Aziz the fight and obviously [Joshua] Buatsi before that, Lyndon Arthur as well. Not many are queuing up to fight Dmitry Bivol, I understand, but we expect to see him back in December, and we’re working on a show in November and a show in December that we’re looking to finalize at the moment. So, hopefully, we see him back soon.
“I said to him the other day that ‘You really need to tell people about your hand injury because it just looks like you’ve been out for a year, and we get the blame,'” said Hearn about Bivol having been inactive due to a hand injury.
“So, he hasn’t been available to fight. Earlier in the year, he was actually fine, and then he picked up the injury. It’s been a bit of a frustrating period.
“Looking forward to him getting out once in 2023 and then moving into the winner of Callum Smith against Beterbiev for the undisputed. That’s the fight, and we expect to see it happen,” said Hearn.