By Jim Calfa: IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev doesn’t believe that WBA champ Dmitry Bivol is serious about wanting to face him for the undisputed championship.
Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) says that Bivol said several years ago that he wanted to fight him but never did. At this point, Beterbiev sees Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) as not wanting to mix it up with him.
Bivol said in an interview yesterday that he wants to fight in December and then face the winner of Beterbiev’s January 13th contest against WBC mandatory Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KOs). Those two will be headlining on ESPN at the Centre Videotron, Quebec City.
What could get in the way of the Beterbiev-Bivol fight from taking place in the WBC, who have thus far not expressed interest in sanctioning the contest while the Russian-Ukrainian war is going on.
The 38-year-old Beterbiev can’t wait around forever to fight Bivol because he’s getting up there in age, and sooner or later, he’s going to lose if he gets much older.
In Beterbiev’s last fight, he struggled with Anthony Yarde and trailed when he stopped him in the eighth round. Some believe that Yarde would have won if his chronically poor gas tank hadn’t failed him.
“He said like this two or three years ago that he wants to fight me next, but he never fought me. He’s a liar,” said Artur Beterbiev to Boxing King Media about his thinking that Dmitry Bivol doesn’t really want to fight him and is just talking.
“Of course,” said Beterbiev when asked if he wanted to fight Bivol. “I don’t want to fight him. I need only one thing from him. A belt and that’s it.”
It’s questionable whether Beterbiev’s promoter, Bob Arum, wants to make the fight with Bivol because, during a recent interview, he didn’t sound excited when the topic of making that match was presented to him.
“Everything is good now. I’m getting ready for January 13th,” said Beterbiev when asked about his recent jaw injury and whether it’s healed.
Beterbiev has got a tough fight on his hands against former WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith (29-1, 21 KOs) on January 13th. Smith’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, is convinced he will defeat Beterbiev to capture his three titles.
“I got here [Saudi Arabia] a couple of days ago. It’s a big show [Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou], a big fight. I’m happy to be here,” said Beterbiev. “Once, we already saw a fight like this with Mayweather & McGregor, and we know who won there. I think it’s the same. I think if he [Fury] wants to finish really fast, he can do that.
“Everyone can give you problems in the street, but we don’t know who is preparing well and who is staying in motion. Whoever is ready will win, I think,” said Beterbiev when asked if IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk could give Tyson Fury problems in December.