Home Boxing News Dmitry Bivol wants to unify after Craig Richards fight

Dmitry Bivol wants to unify after Craig Richards fight

Dmitry Bivol and Craig Richards

WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol 17-0 (11) still has a long list of goals he wants to achieve but first he needs to get past Craig Richards 16-1-1 (9) at the AO Arena in Manchester, England on Saturday night.

The 30-year-old Russian wants to unify the division and to do that he will need to defeat fellow Russian and WBC and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev 16-0 (16). American Joe Smith Jr 27-3 (21), who won the vacant WBO 175-pound title against Maxim Vlasov 45-4 (26) earlier this month, has been linked to a fight against Beterbiev later this year.

Bivol will be having his first fight since his 12-round points win over Lenin Castillo in Chicago in October 2019.

“I missed fighting, I’m really looking forward to getting in the ring and making a great fight for all of the boxing fans,” Bivol said.

“I have a dream to be the undisputed champion, I have goals to fight in Saint Petersburg, to fight in America, to fight in England. Now I’ve accomplished one of my goals.

“I just believe in my skills; I believe I can beat him and move forward again. Of course, I think about my life, I’m living until May 1st then we’ll see what will happen. I believe, I trained all my life, I’ve boxed since I can remember and I have to be the winner.”

Vadim Kornilov from World of Boxing added: “It’s been frustrating for everybody with COVID and everything going on, there are a couple of opportunities but I’m really excited for Dmitry to have his first debut in the UK. The fans here are great, we’ve had a lot of success with [Alexander] Povetkin, getting a lot of attention.

“This is important for him and his career. I can see the ambition on the other side, I can see the professional team, that will make the fight even more exciting. Both guys are coming to win and both guys have a lot of confidence. We feel very excited and we look forward to Saturday.”

Richards insists he is not coming to lie down and says he is more than ready for this step up in competition.

“I believe that I can become the next champion,” Richards said. “I’ve come off a good win for the British title, it’s not like I was in a dark place in my career and this was the only opportunity. I’ve got momentum in my career; I only took the fight because I believe I can win, and I want more momentum.

“People talk about me stepping up from the British scene and moving on. My career’s been a bit backwards, although it looks like I’ve just won the British and moved on; I’ve been beating unbeaten guys early on my career.

“If you look at all the other Brits that have pushed on, they’ve had one domestic dust-up and then moved on to the world scene. I’ve had loads of experience, when’s the time to move on – I can’t keep fighting domestically, it’s time to push on I’ve got enough experience. I’m ready to go.

“I think [Bivol is] one of the greatest fighters in the light heavyweight division. This is why he’s perfect for the job. People mentioned the other light heavyweights, sometimes I wasn’t getting mentioned, but I believe I was getting overlooked. Beating someone like Dmitry Bivol, who’s one of the best out there, I’ll get the credit I deserve.”