Angel Acosta could not have found a more motivational boost than what his stablemate was able to do in the biggest fight of the year to date.
The former WBO junior flyweight titlist and aspiring flyweight contender watched in admiration as Dmitry Bivol turned away the challenge of boxing icon Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez this past weekend in Las Vegas. Bivol and Acosta both train out of the Joel Diaz Training Camp gym in Coachella, mere minutes from the site of Acosta’s clash with Janiel Rivera this Thursday on DAZN from Fantasy Springs Special Events Center in Indio, California.
“We train together and it motivates me to do great things,” Acosta told BoxingScene.com. “I’m happy for Dmitry Bivol and even more for our trainer Joel Diaz who works so hard on behalf of all of us and truly deserves this moment.”
Acosta (22-3-1, 18KOs) joined forces with Diaz last summer following the passing of his father-in-law and longtime head trainer Juan Mucino. Their truncated training camp preceded Acosta’s failed title challenge of WBO flyweight titlist Junto Nakatani, when he suffered a broken nose that wouldn’t stop bleeding as the fight was stopped inside of four rounds.
Thursday will mark the first fight since, and with it comes the first full training camp that Acosta has been able to enjoy in the presence of Diaz and several current and former titleholders. San Juan’s Acosta hoped to bring a sixth major title to the gym last September, but remains content with celebrating the success of others around him in the meantime.
There was not a bigger moment than Bivol pulling off the upset win over the sport’s pound-for-pound king and leading box-office attraction. Bivol (20-0, 11KOs) entered as the unbeaten WBA light heavyweight titlist and fighting in his natural weight division, but was still a considerable underdog versus Alvarez (57-2-2, 39KOs) who was moving up in weight. Bivol won by identical scores of 115-113 on all three scorecards, though most had the fight much wider.
Regardless, it was a celebratory moment for Bivol and his team, with those surrounding him eager to add to the gym’s growing success.
“We are all excited to see each other do well in the ring,” notes Acosta. “Everyone in the gym was happy to see Dmitry Bivol get the win, though we weren’t surprised because we know how good he is. We see it all the time since we’re in the same gym.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox