Dmitry Bivol understands that fighting for the undisputed light heavyweight championship of the world takes more than just personal desire.
The WBA light heavyweight titlist from Russia has made it clear that he wants to face countryman Artur Beterbiev, the WBC, WBO, and IBF champion, for all the 175-pound belts. Bivol is coming off a pair of sterling wins, a dominant points win over Gilberto Ramirez earlier this month, and a decision over Canelo Alvarez in May.
Bivol has repeatedly said that he would much prefer to fight Beterbiev rather than engage Alvarez in a rematch for his next fight, despite the lucrative payday that would await him in a second stint with the 168-pound unified champion from Mexico.
Nevertheless, Bivol indicated in a recent interview that he is cognizant that making a Beterbiev fight is no simple task. In order for the fight to happen, Bivol said he would need the greenlight from his promoter Matchroom, the British outfit led by Eddie Hearn, and Beterbiev would likewise need similar approval from his backers.
Beterbiev is promoted by Top Rank, a major rival to Matchroom. Earlier this year, Top Rank head Bob Arum insisted that he would not allow Beterbiev to “cross the street” to fight Bivol on DAZN, the streaming platform with which Hearn has a considerable output deal; Top Rank has a similar deal with ESPN.
“Of course, it depends on promoter, mine and the guy who is my opponent,” Bivol said on The DAZN Boxing Show. “I can’t just say I want to fight this guy. They can listen to me or they can think about business.”
Bivol suggested that he is getting tired defending his lone WBA title. Earlier this month, Bivol said that an Alvarez payday did not interest him as much as the prospect of burnishing his legacy by taking on Beterbiev.
“Of course, for my legacy, it’s better to fight for another belt,” Bivol said. “I’ve made 10 defenses, of course I want more. I want to feel that I fight for something else, not just defend my title.”
Bivol, who turns 32 in December, is aware of the dangerous proposition that is Beterbiev. The Montreal-based heavyweight is slated to defend his belts against Anthony Yarde on Jan. 28 at Wembley Arena in London.
“With fighters like Beterbiev, you have to be focused every single second of the fight,” Bivol said. “Everything. It’s hard work to be focused [for] 36 minutes. You get tired. When you’re focused, you spend more energy. He’s a good fighter. Of course, you have to be ready for him. You have to be ready to be focused the whole fight.”