Dmitry Bivol is looking to get his career back on track after the fallout with Canelo Alvarez.
Bivol, the light heavyweight titlist from Russia, had been in negotiations to fight Alvarez in a rematch of their 175-pound title fight last year, which Bivol won by unanimous decision. But the two sides were unable to come to terms. Earlier this week, Alvarez announced that his next fight in the fall would take place under Premier Boxing Champions, instead of Matchroom Boxing, which had handled Alvarez’s last handful of fights.
Matchroom head Eddie Hearn recently suggested that British contender Dan Azeez could be in line to face Bivol in the fall. If so, that would contradict a recent announcement that Azeez will take on Joshua Buatsi in an eliminator bout for the belt that Bivol holds. Buatsi, a former Matchroom client, is signed with rival outfit Boxxer.
“Bivol, I think will fight Dan Azeez, hopefully, if we can get the deal over the line, and those negotiations are ongoing,” Hearn told Boxing News. “And then we’ll fight the winner of [Callum] Smith and [Artur] Beterbiev].
Hearn does not see much benefit for Azeez to follow through with a Buatsi fight when he can jump right into a title shot against Bivol.
“I saw a press release saying that he’s fighting Joshua Buatsi,” Hearn said. “We spoke to Dan Azeez: he says he’s not agreed to fight Joshua Buatsi and obviously he’d much rather go straight into the Dmitry Bivol fight than have to fight for an eliminator for Dmitry Bivol.
“[Matchroom CEO] Frank Smith has been negotiating and speaking with Dan Azeez. I like to give British Fighters an opportunity. Dan Azeez appears to be a free agent. It’s a massive opportunity for him and huge money to fight for the world title. …It’s up to Dan Azeez, really. If he wants to fight for the world title straight off the bat, which it would probably make sense, instead of going for an eliminator—but it’s got to work for him and then Frank Smith will continue negotiations with Dan Azeez.”
Hearn envisions a scenario in which Bivol could fight for the undisputed championship—but not necessarily against Artur Beterbiev, who holds the WBC, WBO, and IBF belts. One of Hearn’s clients, former 168-pound titlist Callum Smith of England, will challenge Beterbiev for the Russian’s three 175-pound belts on Aug. 19 at Centre Videotron in Quebec City. If Smith wins, it means Bivol has a high probability to face the Liverpudlian. Beterbiev is backed by rival outfit Top Rank.
“I truly believe that Callum Smith is going to beat Beterbiev, and if he does, that fight (Smith-Bivol) is so easy to make for Matchroom and that would be fantastic as well,” Hearn said.