Home Boxing News Dmitry Bivol labels WBC’s position on proposed Artur Beterbiev fight “unfair”

Dmitry Bivol labels WBC’s position on proposed Artur Beterbiev fight “unfair”

Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. Photo credit: Top Rank/Mark Robinson,/Matchroom Boxing

WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has doubled down on his position that WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol 21-0 (11) will not be permitted to fight WBC champion Artur Beterbiev 19-0 (19) while the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.

The WBC has taken a harsh stance on the war, declaring no Russian boxer will fight for one of their titles in the current circumstances.

“At this moment, we can not sanction a fight where Bivol is involved,” Sulaiman said to Izquierdazo. “And every time that someone asks me about that, it hurts me, because I have many Russian friends, fighters, trainers, judges, and members of the Government Board that are from Russia.”

Bivol’s manager Vadim Kornilov remains optimistic the fight can still happen, despite Bivol’s promoter essentially saying the fight is dead in the water in the current circumstances.

“Right now everybody supports the idea of the fight happening,” Kornilov told SecondsOut. “You’ve got two boxers that want it. All the politics, I think that’s not important. The money is actually coming together, that’s what’s important.

“Yes, there’s a lot of interest from the Middle East, from Abu Dhabi, from Saudi. They’re interested in this type of fight happening, which I think will help materialise the fight in the near future.”

While Beterbiev was born in Russia, the 38-year-old immigrated to Montreal to begin his professional boxing journey and subsequently took out Canadian citizenship, making him immune to the WBC ruling.

Bivol is in a different position. The 32-year-old was born in Kyrgyzstan when it was still part of the USSR and moved to St Petersberg at the age of 11. Although he boxes out of Indio, California, he still holds Russian citizenship.

“Of course it’s not fair,” Bivol said to SecondsOut. “How you could say that I am the champion of the world if somebody from some country couldn’t fight for your belt but this guy could be better than you.”

“It’s not fair and this guy just training just spending his time in the gym and he’s not allowed to fight. He’s the same like you he’s just living in a different apartment, in different place but he’s working the same like you. He’s training, he’s fighting, his mental is similar like you. But why he’s not allowed to fight? It’s not fair.”

There is of course one simple solution to getting the fight over the line. Beterbiev, who also holds ownership of the WBO and IBF titles, could simply relinquish his WBC belt. The winner of Bivol-Beterbiev would be awarded the prestigious Ring magazine 175-pound championship.

There seems to have been little to no consideration to this solution and it is clearly one that would not please Sulaiman, who insists the WBC’s position is not personal.

“Our position is not personal, and we are very sorry if it hurts anyone,” Sulaiman said. “In this case, (it hurts) Bivol because he is Russian, but it is nothing personal against him. We are a sanctioning body that fights for peace, for justice against abuse of power, against discrimination, against aggression. And it’s very unfortunate, he is a victim in this situation, but this is something that neither he nor we can control.”