WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol has not fought since October 2019.
If Matchroom Boxing head Eddie Hearn’s crystal ball proves to be accurate, Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) will considerably make up for inactivity in 2021.
The promoter plans on pitting Bivol against the WBA’s No. 8 ranked fighter in Craig “Spider” Richards (14-1-1 9 KOs) in an appetizer, followed by a palatable clash with former WBO 168-pound champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (41-0, 27 KOs), and finally, if all goes according to plan, a light heavyweight unification match against IBF and WBC champion Artur Beterbiev (15-0, 15 KOs).
“We’re talking and I’ve offered [Ramirez] the Bivol fight. The conversation with Dimitry is to fight Craig Richards and if he wins, then fight Ramirez after that,” Hearn told IFL. “I like the Gilberto Ramirez fight, that’s another one I’m trying to make for the summer. But I would like to give Craig Richards the opportunity first [against Bivol].
“If Joe Smith wins the world title, they’ll do Beterbiev against Joe Smith, and that’s a really good fight. Together with Bob [Arum], we’ll make Beterbiev against Bivol. It’s an absolute pound-for-pound great clash.
“The problem with Dimitry Bivol is, he’s not a household name yet, and he’s been making great money … Now the market has readjusted and it’s been more difficult for him to get fights.”
Bivol has had a rough go around finding a feasible road to the ring during the global pandemic.
He’s one of the last-remaining, world-class caliber fighters who didn’t fight in 2020 altogether, joining the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Keith Thurman, Andy Ruiz, Nonito Donaire, and Beterbiev.
The 30-year-old Russian’s last fight was an underwhelming unanimous decision win over Lenin Castillo at the Wintrust Arena in Chicago. The win was Bivol’s fourth consecutive unanimous decision victory. Decision wins over Joe Smith Jr., Jean Pascal and Isaac Chilemba preceded Castillo.
Bivol last scored a knockout in March 2018 against Sullivan Barrera.
Now he’ll have a chance to make up for lost time with a knockout lineup of matchups once Hearn delivers them.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com