Unbeaten light heavyweight champions Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol came face-to-face in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, during the Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou gala dinner after the weigh-in for tomorrow's pay-per-view fight.
Beterbiev, with an impeccable record of 19 wins and 19 knockouts, holds the WBC, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight titles, and Bivol is the WBA light heavyweight world champion, who boasts 21 wins with 11 knockouts, stood together for the media. The bout is a dream fight - and would finally decide who is the best fighter at light heavyweight in the modern era since Andre Ward retired. The two fighters showed mutual respect as the cameras flashed seeing the two champions next to each other.
“I hope that I have a fight before, and then I hope that I’ll fight the winner of that fight. It will be great,” said Bivol when speaking to BoxingSocial about his desire to fight the winner of Artur Beterbiev and challenger Callum Smith. “We have a couple of opponents. About them, my manager knows better. We’re talking about the fight probably being in the U.S. With the opponent, we’ll mix everything, and we’ll soon know."
This also confirms what Eddie Hearn told ProBox TV News last week about the future of Bivol, whom Hearn alluded to fighting in January, but truly wanting the winner of Beterbiev versus Smith. The WBC stands as the roadblock, refusing to sanction their bout given Bivol's Russian citizenship as the Russian-Ukrainian conflict continues.
Beterbiev is set to defend his IBF, WBC, and WBO titles against Callum Smith on January 13th in Quebec City, Canada, on ESPN, while Bivol seems to be honing in on a mysterious January fight date with no opponent being named as of yet.
“He had a hand injury,” told Hearn to ProBox TV News. “He was ready to fight [in] November. We are looking at December, but more than likely first or second week of January.”
It has been made extremely clear that Bivol's goal is to attempt to become an undisputed light heavyweight world champion, and he wishes to face the winner of Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith. The betting favorite for that bout is Beterbiev, as the two appearing together is big news as it could be an iconic first meeting that is replayed over and over again if a fight is made...especially if the two fight in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, which is not outside the realm of possibility.
“He only wants one fight,” stated Hearn. “That is the winner of [Artur] Beterbiev versus Callum Smith, he wants to fight for the undisputed championship at 175 [lbs].”
Bivol has been inactive in 2023 after winning boxer of the year in 2022. Bivol defeated Canelo Alvarez in May of last year to shock the world and stop Canelo Alvarez's conquest of attempting to win his world title in the light heavyweight division. Bivol would follow that performance up with a big win over unbeaten top contender Gilberto "Zurdo" Ramirez.
The fact that Bivol and Beterbiev faced off at this event in Saudi Arabia caused it to trend on social media, meaning there is a big interest in this future fight.