By Robert Segal: WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol has a title defense being planned for January rather than December, as previously talked about.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn told iFL TV they’re working on a fight for Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) in January, but he’s not saying who the opponent will be.
With this long layoff by Bivol, fans are hoping that when he does return, it’s against a solid fighter with talent, preferably someone that they’ve heard of before, rather than an unknown fringe contender with no hope of being competitive.
Top 10 in WBA’s rankings
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. Lawrence King
Bivol’s opponent will probably be a mid-range contender in the 175-lb division, considering that the top guys don’t want to fight him.
Anthony Yarde would be an ideal guy because he gave Artur Beterbiev a lot of trouble before falling apart in the eighth round last January.
Bivol wanted a rematch with Canelo Alvarez after his one-sided victory over year a year and a half ago, but the Mexican star wisely turned it down and is focusing on weaker opposition to ensure that his career doesn’t fall apart.
Hopefully, the date doesn’t get pushed back another month to February or later. Bivol hasn’t fought since his successful title defense against former super middleweight champion Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez last year on November 5th in Abu Dhabi, and that’s a long time for any world champion.
Hearn had mentioned that he’d not had takers for attempting to get a couple of the top contenders to challenge Bivol and suggests that these guys would rather wait around and go after IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev, who is getting up there in age at 38 and showed vulnerability in his last fight.
The way that Bivol dominated Ramirez & Canelo Alvarez last year, he showed that he’s in the prime of his career and not someone that anyone is going to best unless they land something big on his chin.
For the most part, the top contenders at 175 are a pedestrian-level bunch with little talent and guys that would be lost if they fought in the red-hot 168-lb division right now. 175 is a weight class that is largely lacking in talented fighters, so a lot of the fighters that lacked the talent to compete at 168 at least have a chance of getting a title shot at some point unless they turn them down.
That’s the case that we’re seeing with Bivol. Top contenders don’t want to mess with him because they know they’ll lose, and they want to wait around for Beterbiev to get older or vacate & retire.