Team Bivol playing a 'dangerous' game if they regard Arthur as Beterbiev 'stepping stone,' promoter says

Could Dmitry Bivol versus Artur Betebiev be next? 

Bivol, the undefeated current WBA light heavyweight champion, faces Lyndon Arthur on Saturday's Day of Reckoning event in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The tone was set early in the press conference, when Vadim Kornilov, the manager of Bivol alluded to Saturday’s bout being a prelude — an appetizer of sorts to a light heavyweight unification. 

“This fight is a stepping stone for us for a possible undisputed fight to come next year [with the winner of January’s fight between current IBF, WBO, and WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and Callum Smith]” said Kornilov.

“We’re focused on Lyndon Arthur, and we appreciate that he took this fight. We appreciate that he took the challenge as Eddie [Hearn] said [there have been] four or five opponents we have been trying to get in the ring with Dmitry and many of them were not enticed in doing the fight.”

The most ambitious fight would be the long-reigning unified world champion Artur Beterbiev facing Bivol. Yet, as mentioned, he fights on January 13 against Smith. Beterbiev would have to win that fight. 

At Thursday's press conference Bivol said he wants to attempt to become the light heavyweight undisputed champion. However, the 33-year-old champion didn’t want to go as far as stating that he is overlooking Arthur.

“Many people ask me about ‘what about [the] undisputed fight, of course I am talking about it, but I really focused on Lyndon Arthur,” said Bivol. “Everything is possible. You know me, I’m not usually focused on knockout because it distract me from my plan. If I see the moment I will use this moment but I’m not the fighter who think about only one process. I like to enjoy the process and following my tactics.”

While Bivol spoke a bit, his opponent Arthur gave very little in terms of verbal response. Arthur’s most notable statement was dressing as a sheik at the press conference. Arthur, age 32, was concise with his words as he promised to shock the boxing world on Saturday.

“Nobody has seen the best of me yet but if a fight is going to do it, this will be the one,” stated Arthur. 

While many are looking past this bout, it is important that Bivol doesn’t. It appears a win here would set the stage for his own big fight — something Arthur’s team is widely aware of. Nisse Sauerland, the promoter of Arthur, believes this could be the case.

“It’s a dangerous thing to do,” said Nisse Sauerland. “[Arthur is] someone who can’t be overlooked. Lyndon has top pedigree, he beat Yarde, [but] obviously lost the rematch. When he’s up for a fight, he’s up for a fight, and he’s up for a fight on Saturday.”