Turki Alalshikh Wants Winner Of Beterbiev-Bivol To Face Opetaia
Bivol and Beterbiev are in line to face each other in an undisputed light heavyweight bout. Reports indicated that both men had signed a deal, but Bob Arum stated there is still work that needs to be done, even if he expects the fight to go ahead.
“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
Bivol is the WBA Champion, having beaten Lyndon Arthur in his last fight for the 11th defense of his title. Beterbiev stopped Callum Smith in his last bout to keep his 100 percent KO rate. He stopped the Brit in the seventh round, dropping him twice, before calling out Bivol.
Bivol Vs. Opetaia
The winner will face questions about their next steps. Beterbiev is 38, meaning he could walk away from the sport as an undisputed champion. Bivol, however, is much younger. He is 33 years old and has spoken about wanting to fight Opetaia, as both men were open to the bout.
“[I want] Bivol. I got a lot of respect for Bivol. He’s probably one of my favorite fighters at the moment. We actually went out to dinner the other night and he said he wanted to see that fight with me and him further down the track. That’s a fight I would love to have. The best of the cruiserweights vs. the best of the light heavies,” Opetaia
This was on the condition that Bivol cleaned up all the belts at 175 pounds.
“Turki Alalshikh asked me ‘Let’s make (the) fight against Opetaia. To be honest, I told him I want to do everything in my weight division and then..maybe I will move up. I’m focusing on my weight division,” Bivol stated
Turki Alalshikh Reacts
Outside of Opetaia, Bivol could chase the rematch with Canelo Alvarez. Talks over it broke down as Canelo wanted it at 175 pounds, while Bivol was keen on fighting at 168 for the Mexican’s undisputed title. But when it came to Turki Alalshikh, he wanted the winner to face Opetaia.
“The result of Beterbiev-Bivol play against [cruiserweight] Opetaia, and the fans want to see this fight. I want fighters. Why is it not Saudi Arabia? The map is changing. Please, we don’t want any YouTuber fights again. I want fighters; this is what I support. For me, inside my heart, I want the fighters,” Turki Alalshikh stated
Saudi is changing the landscape of boxing by putting on the biggest fights. While that may take boxing away from the ordinary fan, who cannot travel to see the events, the long-term benefits are greater for the sport, giving the fans the fights they want to see.
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