The long awaited light heavyweight match up between Russian champions Artur Beterbiev and Dmitrii  Bivol was formally announced at a press conference on Monday in London. 

Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) will put his IBF, WBC and WBO belts on the line against WBA champion Bivol (22-0, 11 KOs) on June 1 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The pair came face-to-face in the English capital to continue Turki Alalshikh’s ambitious vision for boxing in his country. 

Oleksandr Gvozdyk lost his WBC title to Beterbiev through a tenth round stoppage in October 2019. After spending 40 months out of the ring following that loss, the Ukrainian has rekindled his career with three straight wins and now stands as arguably the third best light heavyweight in the world.  

“I would bet on Beterbiev,” Gvozdyk said exclusively to BoxingScene. “Look, it’s a good fight. I haven’t sparred or fought Bivol, so I don’t know how he will handle Beterbiev’s power. Bivol obviously has great footwork, but Beterbiev knows very well how to cut those angles. I think he will be able to hold Bivol close to the ropes. If you watch Bivol-Canelo, Canelo never had any problems locking him against the ropes. The problem for Bivol is that Beterbiev’s power is on another level. With all respect to Canelo’s boxing skills, he is not as strong as Beterbiev. This is where I think Bivol will get in trouble, unless he can use his footwork to upset his rhythm. I just think Beterbiev is going to be too much for him. It is a 50-50 fight, but if I had to bet money, it goes on Beterbiev.”

Bivol’s unanimous decision win over Canelo nearly two years ago has arguably not aged especially well, given Canelo’s relatively subpar performances a weight below since. 

“My opinion is the same,” Gvozdyk added. “Last two or three years of Beterbievs’s amateur career he was fighting cruiserweights. He’s naturally much bigger than Bivol, I’ve heard that Bivol is not actually that heavy. It will play a role because Beterbiev will be bigger, stronger and heavier. Bivol is a great fighter, but in my personal opinion he is overrated. He is good, but I think people think he is invincible, I don’t think so. I don’t think Beterbiev thinks so either, it is going to be a very tough fight for Bivol. 

“I think it is all professional, I don’t think there is any hatred. Bivol’s team has done a great promotional job, but we aren’t talking about that. We are now talking about what is going to happen in the ring. It will be an interesting fight, I don’t think Beterbiev will run him over, but he will get to him. Maybe he can knock him out, but if the fight went the distance I might edge Bivol, but I don’t think it will. This is how Beterbiev wins fights, he just stops people. Fighting with me, with Anthony Yarde he was trailing, then he did the job. I think the same will eventually happen to Bivol.”