Beterbiev Backed To Stop ‘Overrated’ Bivol In Undisputed Title Fight

February 5, 2024
3 weeks
Artur Beterbiev

Former light-heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk is convinced Artur Beterbiev will beat Dmitrii Bivol and become the division’s undisputed king.

It was announced last week that Beterbiev – the WBC, IBF, and WBO title holder – will fight WBA champion Bivol on June 1 in Saudi Arabia.

Their undisputed fight is set to headline the Matchroom Boxing vs Queensbury Promotions event – a unique Five vs Five format that will see both promoters put forward five fighters each. As yet, the details of how the event will work have not been revealed.

Beterbiev vs Bivol is undoubtedly one of the biggest fights in boxing. Both fighters will enter the contest with unbeaten records and genuine claims to be among the leading pound-for-pound boxers in the world.

It will also see an intriguing clash of styles. Beterbiev carries ferocious power and has won all 20 of his professional fights by stoppage. Fellow Russian Bivol, meanwhile, is one of the most skillful and technical boxers in the game, so it will be a true contest of power against style.

However, Gvozdyk, who lost his IBF world title to Beterbiev via a 10th-round technical stoppage in October 2019, sees only one outcome.

“I would bet on Beterbiev,” the Ukrainian told Pro Box TV. “I’ve never fought or sparred with Bivol, so it is hard to understand if he will be able to handle Beterbiev’s power.

“Bivol has great footwork, but Beterbiev knows how to cut those angles very well. I think Beterbiev can hold him close to the ropes. If you watch Bivol-Canelo [Alvarez] he holds Bivol against the ropes, but Beterbiev’s power is on another level.

“That’s where Bivol will get in trouble with Beterbiev, unless he can use his footwork to get out of trouble there. I think Beterbiev will be too much for him.”

While Gvozdyk is yet to share the ring with Bivol, he was meant to face the Russian in the amateurs. The pair were scheduled to face each other in the 2013 Summer Universiade final, but Bivol injured his hand and was forced to withdraw, handing Gvozdyk the gold medal by walkover.

“We were meant to fight each other in the final of the world championships in Kazan [Russia] in 2013, when I won the gold medal,” Gvozdyk said. “He injured his hand or something; he had some fracture or something. I got the gold medal without a fight.”

Despite not facing Bivol in any sort of ring or even in sparring, the Ukrainian has played down his ability. Bivol famously defeated Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez on points in May 2022.

“He is a great fighter, but I personally think Bivol is overrated,” Gvozdyk added. “He is good, don’t get me wrong. He is probably one of the best in the division right now, but people seem to think he is invincible. I don’t think so, I don’t think Beterbiev thinks so either.

“Soon we are going to see a very tough fight for Bivol. I favour Beterbiev, not like he is supposed to run him over. I think it will be an interesting fight, but I always think Beterbiev will win.

“If the fight was going to go the distance, I would probably edge it to Bivol, but I don’t think it will. This is how Beterbiev wins the fights – he stops people. When he was fighting with me and with [Anthony] Yarde, he was trailing on the cards, but then he just did the job. I think the same will be with Bivol.”

As for his own immediate future, Gvozdyk, whose only defeat came against Beterbiev, is still waiting to finalize plans, although he had hoped to fight twice in the next few months.

“I was promised fights in March and May. There is no specific date or opponents yet. It would be great to box on March 30th as part of the Premier Boxing Champions show from Amazon,” he said. “I hope this will work out, but the opponent will most likely not be from the top 10. Then I want to fight on the undercard of the Canelo fight, he usually fights in May. That’s my plan.”