Dmitry Bivol could next defend his WBA light heavyweight title against John Ryder after his hopes of facing Saul “Canelo” Alvarez were dashed.
The Russian had been put forward as an alternative opponent for Canelo when talks for an undisputed world super-middleweight title fight with Caleb Plant seemed to be going nowhere. But a deal was finally sealed last week for that fight to go ahead in November, leaving Bivol looking for another challenger.
It had been assumed that he would face Joshua Buatsi, but the South Londoner could be set to make a US debut before challenging for a world title in the Spring.
Ryder, 33, is in line to face David Morrell for WBA regular super-middleweight title, but Eddie Hearn has spoken to Ryder about the possibility of moving up in weight to face Bivol.
“I might put him in with John Ryder,” Hearn said. “He [Ryder] wants it. He is a super middleweight but is meant to fight Morrell for the world title, but that’s a tough fight, so why not fight Bivol.
“I think a lot of people feel Bivol is beatable right now, although he is still unbeaten.”
The winner of that fight would most likely face Buatsi early next year, with Hearn looking to stage the fight at the O2 Arena in London. Having had back-to-back training camps with Virgil Hunter in the Bay Area, Buatsi is having a one-month break but will box again this year.
“I think we are going to box Bivol in October and Josh will box in November or December, probably in America,” Hearn said. “After that, a world title fight in March – it’s the perfect O2 Arena fight, isn’t it?
“One thing for sure, if you win a world title in this division you have earned it. Beterbiev, Bivol and Joe Smith Jr - there are no poor champions.”
Bivol beat another British boxer, Craig Richards, in the last defense of his world title in Manchester in May. That was his first fight in 19 months.