Bivol eager for undisputed title, eyes winner of Beterbiev vs. Smith clash

By Sean Jones - 12/28/2023 - Comments

Dmitry Bivol wants to fight for the undisputed light heavyweight championship next after successfully defending his WBA 175-lb title against Lyndon Arthur last weekend in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Bivol said he enjoyed the fight with Arthur (23-2, 16 KOs), which at times appeared easy for him, but he backed off in the later rounds instead of going for the knockout. Dmitry had Arthur down in the eleventh from a body shots, but didn’t press the issue.

Eyes on the prize

Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs) must wait for the outcome of the January 13th fight between IBF/WBC/WBO champion Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith.

“I didn’t expect his speed. In the eighth round? I don’t remember this. Which shot was it?” said Dmitry Bivol to Matchroom Boxing when asked about his appearing to be hurt by a body shot in the eighth round by Lyndon Arthur last Saturday night.

Arthur’s power seemed to the thing that bothered Bivol the most in the fight, as he landed some big shots that would back him off. His speed wasn’t the thing that made Bivol cautious.

It was the power shots that Lyndon was hitting him with that gave him problems, and he could have done a lot more if he’d attacked aggressively. He created the blueprint in a way that shows what Bivol is uncomfortable with.

“I felt comfortable. I even played. Sometimes, it was a situation like, ‘You caught me,’ with that punch, he punched me on my arm, and I showed him, ‘Throw more punches.’ He said it, and he just read in my eyes that it’s a joke,” said Bivol.

“I feel fresh, and I want my next fight soon. I want to fight for the undisputed. This is what I hope my next fight I will get. Nothing. It meant nothing to me.

Undisputed the Driving Force

“We met, and it doesn’t matter. I met him before, and it doesn’t help to make this fight,” said Bivol when asked what he thought of Artur Beterbiev during their face-off during the Tyson Fury vs. Francisco Ngannou fight week last October.

Bivol has been working for the undisputed championship for years, and it’s going to be interesting to see what he does if he accomplishes his goal.

Will he stay at 175 to defend it for as long as possible, or will he move up to cruiserweight and accept the offer from former IBF champion Jai Opetaia to fight him?

Bivol will need to be a lot more aggressive if he wants to beat Opetaia because he’ll lose on the cards if he retreats each time he’s pressured. That’s the reason why Craig Richards gave him so many problems in 2021.

Canelo Alvarez would have done the same if he had fought in reactionary mode by hanging back, fighting off the ropes last year.

“It could only help if it’s the wishes of His Excellency Turki Al-Sheikh and how they agreed to it with [Beterbiev’s promoters at] Top Rank because, with us, we already agree for the fight,” said Bivol.

“When I beat him in 2012, and it was just another opponent from England, and then I saw him many years [later], and he won the Muhammad Ali trophy,” said Bivol about Callum Smith, who is challenging IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Beterbiev on January 13th.

“When he moved to my weight class, I thought, ‘Yeah, one day I could meet with him again in the ring,’ but it’s just a new page. Nothing from the past will help me or him.

“To have all the belts? It’s just that the mission is done,” said Bivol when asked what his thoughts would be if he became the undisputed 175-lb champion by defeating the winner of the Beterbiev vs. Smith fight.

“If I get all the belts. I’ve achieved what I wanted. When I’m talking about it, I feel the fire inside of me. I feel happy and sad because when you’re playing some game and you’re done. You’ve won this game. I see that I’m close. We will see,” said Bivol.

Beterbiev will be a real problem for Bivol with punching power and his attack mode style of fighting. He’s all wrong for Bivol. A better style match-up for Bivol would be Callum Smith, who wilts under pressure and tends to fall back to the ropes to cover up. We saw him do this against Canelo and John Ryder, and he looked poor in both fights.

“I want to say thank you to him [Excellency Turki Al-Sheikh] from me and my team, and from all boxing society,” said Bivol when asked about what his thoughts are on His Excellency for putting the ‘Day of Reckoning’ card together last Saturday night on December 23rd.

“It’s a lot because he’s giving to boxing fans good matches and good fights, and I hope he will do it in the future. Thank you so much to Excellency Turki Al-Sheikh and to all of Saudi because it’s great that they’re doing these events, and they want to do it perfect. It’s a standard to how to do it for all of the world to do it.

“They try to do it better, and it’s great that His Excellency loves boxing. Thank you so much,” said Bivol.

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