Home Boxing News Eddie Hearn wants WBA champ Dmitry Bivol to face British boxer next

Eddie Hearn wants WBA champ Dmitry Bivol to face British boxer next

Dmitry Bivol and Eddie Hearn
Dmitry Bivol and Eddie Hearn

WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol 21-0 (11) might be the number one boxer in the 175-pound weight class, but he has a dilemma.

The 32-year-old who was born in Kyrgyzstan, boxes out of America but grew up in Russia and has Russian citizenship, has been barred from boxing for a WBC title after the Mexican sanctioning body put a ban on Russians fighting for their version of the world title after the invasion of the Ukraine.

That has put Bivol in a tough spot. He was willing to move down to super middleweight to face Mexican superstar and WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF 168-pound champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 59-2-2 (39) in a rematch of their light heavyweight bout in May last year that Bivol won on points. That won’t happen on the WBC’s watch.

Bivol has also shown a willingness to face WBC, WBO and IBF 175-pound champion Artur Beterbiev 19-0 (190) in an attractive boxer versus puncher showdown to determine ultimate supremacy a light heavyweight.

Beterbiev, 38, was born in Russia but moved to Canada to kickstart his pro career and took out citizenship in his new country, making him immune to the WBC’s ruling.

That fight could conceivably still take place if Beterbiev, who is scheduled to defend his three belts against Englishman Callum ‘Mundo’ Smith 29-1 (21) at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada on August 19, if the winner abdicates the green belt.

As things stand at the moment, Bivol is looking to stay busy as he waits to see how thing shake out.

Promoter Eddie Hearn has suggested two potential opponents for The Ring’s number six pound-for-pound boxer in the world.

“He wants to fight the winner of Smith vs Beterbiev, but I feel like that fight’s in August, and you’ll probably see him fight in August or early September,” the Matchroom Boxing boss said to iFL TV.

“So I’d like him to fight a Brit, to be honest with you. I’d like him to fight Anthony Yarde or I’d like him to fight Dan Azeez.”

Yarde 23-3 (22) put in a good account of himself in his challenger to Beterbiev at Wembley Arena in London in January, eventually succumbing in the eighth round while leading on two of the judges’ scorecards in a tight contest.

Azeez 19-0 (13) is largely unknown outside of his his homeland, but he does own an eighth-round knockout victory over former WBA super middleweight champion and Alvarez victim Rocky Fielding 30-3 (18).

“Yeah, I think Dan Azeez is a free agent, as I understand. So we might be making him an offer to fight Dmitry Bivol,” said Hearn.

“Azeez is a great story. He’s built himself up British, Commonwealth, and European champions.”

“Anthony Yarde is a fight that I think is a tremendous fight for Dmitry Bivol, and he’s earned his shot at another world title fight through that great performance against Beterbiev.

“So I think if we’re looking at a British name for Dmitry Bivol, it’s going to be Azeez or Yarde next.”