Eddie Hearn, the head of Matchroom Boxing, was in San Francisco on Tuesday Morning to promote the Devin Haney versus Regis Prograis pay-per-view fight today in front of the venue the fight will happen at - the Chase Center as the festivities took place to get people excited for the fight.
Prior to the press conference, the undercard for the pay-per-view was announced and one man who was rumored to possibly land on the card was not listed. That man is the 2022 Boxer of the Year - Dmitry Bivol. It appears now after having a career year - Bivol will more than likely be out of the ring for over a year before returning from a massive layoff after beating Canelo Alvarez and Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez.
Hearn talked to ProBox TV News exclusively about what is next for Bivol.
“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.”
When asked about matching up Dmitry Bivol with opponents, Hearn simply explained that is always an uphill battle to find Bivol an opponent. Despite possibly being the best fighter in the world, Bivol doesn’t have a massive fanbase and has an economic hurdle like many avoided fighters, the risk of fighting Bivol doesn’t match the reward that would come from fighting him, let alone beating him.
Hearn voiced some frustration in young fighters not wanting to ‘dare to be great’.
“It is disappointing as we have [offered the Bivol fight] to a lot of contenders, who just go ‘no, unless we are going to get a load of money we don’t want to fight him,” said Hearn. “And what that means is we can’t beat him, and I understand that, but you would like people to roll the dice a little bit more.”
Yet one fight stands out as the one that Bivol is chasing. Bivol wants to fight the winner of Artur Beterbiev versus Callum Smith, which will take place in the first week of January for three of the four light heavyweight world titles. Bivol is a long-reigning WBA light heavyweight world champion, and Beterbiev holds the WBC, WBO, and IBF light heavyweight world titles.
Smith shares the same co-promoter, Matchroom Boxing, with Eddie Hearn, so if Smith pulls off the upset that fight seems very makable, but Beterbiev is promoted by Top Rank Inc., and has appeared on ESPN telecasts for the last five or so years.
Despite the political hurdles, Hearn insists the only fight Bivol wants is the winner, and it might not be a fluke that he might return that week or the week after so he could return to face the winner later in the year.
“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].”