Mauricio Sulaiman, President of the WBC is taking a hard line against an undisputed fight between WBO, WBC, and IBF light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev and the WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol. The reason is the country they are both from - Russia.
Currently, Russia is involved in the ongoing war with Ukraine. Though both fighters are Russian, Beterbiev now living full-time in Canada, whereas Bivol is a Russian citizen. The WBC has taken an unapologetic stance in this regard as they have stated that they will not sanction fights with Russian fighters and Bivol seems to be caught in the political crossfire.
Though there have been ongoing talks from both sides, the resolution would be simple, if the fight gets made - the WBC light heavyweight title will not be on the line.
“As of today, that is the position of the WBC [about Beterbiev versus Bivol],” explained Sulaiman. “As long as there is no boxing in Ukraine, we will not accept boxing in Russia. At least, not sanctioned by the WBC."
To make matters even more confusing, Beterbiev has a mandatory world title defense against Matchroom Boxing’s Callum Smith. Bivol has been out of action since becoming the boxer of the year in 2022 as Bivol’s team seems to be hoping to land a Canelo Alvarez fight. With Canelo Alvarez, fighting this Saturday, May 6th, in Mexico, they’re hoping to land a fight with Canelo Alvarez in September of this year.
“At this moment…Beterbiev has to fight with his WBC mandatory rival, Callum Smith," Sulaiman said about the future of the WBC light heavyweight title.