Bivol Vs. Beterbiev Being Planned For June 1st
Both boxers are on track to fight for the Undisputed Light Heavyweight Championship of the world. After around a year out, Bivol returned to the ring to beat Lyndon Arthur via a unanimous decision. That put the pressure on Beterbiev to come through his next fight against Callum Smith.
The Russian delivered the goods, knocking out Smith in the seventh round to set up the undisputed fight. Bob Arum denied reports that the fight had already been signed. But the Top Rank promoter expected it to happen, as Turki Alalshikh expressed his desire, too.
Bivol Vs. Beterbiev
“No, it’s not done yet but absolutely, we want to do it. I’ll be talking to my friend, his excellency, Turki Alalshikh. I know he wants to do it, but Ramadan is coming. So Ramadan ends sometime in the middle of April so three months after the end of Ramadan we’ll be ready to fight Bivol probably in Riyadh,” Arum said
The current obstacle that has prevented the fight has been the WBC’s stance on Russian fighters competing for its belt. Due to the Russia-Ukraine war, Russian fighters could not fight for the title. Those comments did not sit well with Bivol, who felt that politics and sports should not be mixed.
“It looks funny because [Canadian citizen] Beterbiev is Russian too. I was born in Kyrgyzstan; I spent almost half of my life there. If I was born there, I could go anytime and get my passport. What’s the problem? I think there’s some other reason [they’re saying that]. I don’t know what it is, but it’s not the main problem keeping us from making the fight.
“Politics and sports are two different things. I hope one day it will be really clean – sports will be separated from politics. I really hope. Because all my life I’ve spent it boxing – I spent all my life in the boxing gym, and I just want to fight. I want to show people that you can achieve something if you work hard. Even if you come from a small city, you could be someone,” Bivol said
Will It Happen?
Sulaiman hit back, claiming that Bivol could appeal such a decision.
“We have explained consistently several times that Bivol has to contact the WBC and put his case forward, explaining why the WBC should not consider him Russian. Because we do not allow any boxing in Russia or Belarus, we don’t rank any boxers from Russia or Belarus and we don’t [give] any support [to] any activity of a WBC fight involving those two countries. He has never contacted the WBC for months.
However, the rise of Saudi Arabia in boxing indicates that these hurdles are likely to have gone. That is giving boxing fans the fights that they want to see.
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