Dmitry Bivol was an interested observer during this past weekend’s light heavyweight title eliminator, though not necessarily in search of his next opponent.
The reigning WBA light heavyweight titlist continues to bask in the glow of his career-best, unanimous decision win over four-division champ Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez earlier this month in Las Vegas. Bivol (20-0, 11KOs) turned away the challenge of the sport’s leading box-office attraction and—prior to last Saturday evening—pound-for-pound king, raising his profile in the process and finding himself in high demand after years of being viewed as a high-risk, low-reward option.
On the heels of Bivol’s win comes a sanctioned WBA title eliminator, which saw Mexico’s Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez take down Germany’s Dominic Boesel (32-3, 12 KOs) inside of four rounds this past Saturday at Toyota Arena in Ontario, California.
Ramirez (44-0, 30 KOs)—a former WBO super middleweight titlist—has been adamant in his desire to next face Bivol with a win.
The feeling is somewhat mutual, though more as a failsafe than as a next option.
“A fight against Gilberto Ramirez is interesting for me, too,” Bivol told BoxingScene.com and other reporters during a WBA-hosted Zoom conference call. “But it’s not my first (option). I would first like to fight for more belts. But maybe it is the second (option).”
Of greater interest to Russia’s Bivol is the winner of the June 18 unification bout between lineal/WBC/IBF champ Artur Beterbiev (17-0, 17 KOs) and WBO titlist Joe Smith Jr. (28-3, 20 KOs). The unbeaten Bivol will first have to wait for Alvarez (57-2-2, 39KOs) to decide whether to exercise a rematch clause that came with their May 7 DAZN Pay-Per-View headliner, though the Mexican superstar remains noncommittal at the moment.
Should he find himself free and clear to pursue the next fight of his choosing, Bivol and manager Vadim Kornilov will push for the undisputed championship clash. If not, a fight with another highly touted Mexican fighter will suffice as an encore to his triumphant performance against Alvarez.
“He talked about me many times,” Bivol noted of Ramirez repeatedly calling for a fight over the past year. “He has a good record. He’s a good fighter and I would like to fight him too if I can’t get a (title unification fight).”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox