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Dmitry Bivol wants to be back before the end of the year after failing to find opponent

Dmitry Bivol. Photo credit: Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol 21-0 (11) is desperate to get back in the ring after almost a year on the sidelines.

The 32-year-old Russian entered 2023 off the back of a brace of quality wins over reigning undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 59-2-2 (39) and previously undefeated Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez 44-1 (30).

But finding a viable opponent has proved an impossible task to date.

“The priority is to return to the ring in October or November,” Bivol’s manager Vadim Kornilov explained to Ivan Orekhov.

“There is no confirmed date yet and there are several reasons for this. The main one concerns the general will of our team, some circumstances… it is difficult to find an opponent – but there are some developments, searches and the negotiations are ongoing.

“We have to look for any option, someone who would want to enter the ring and someone who the fans would want to see in the arena and on TV. There were few such options, like Dan Azeez, Joshua Buatsi, but both refused and decided to fight each other.

“In addition, there is also the fight with Jaime Munguia. Maybe we will circle back to this option [in the future].

“We are currently searching, we are in the process of agreeing with someone and making sure that Dmitry returns to the ring as soon as possible. Right now he is holding an intermediate training camp, preparing for the main camp to the fight.”

Bivol has been something of a quiet achiever in the sport since winning the WBA interim title in his seventh pro bout way back in May 2016. The WBA ‘regular’ title would come the following year but even victories over former world champion Jean Pascal and future world champion Joe Smith Jr failed to move the needle significantly in terms of popularity.

In 2021 he claimed the full WBA championship but it wasn’t until he faced and defeated Mexican superstar and pound-for-pound stalwart Alvarez by unanimous decision in May last year that people really sat up and took notice.

The fight that fans are demanding to see is Bivol against WBC, WBO and IBF light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev 19-0 (19) in a rare four-belt unification bout.

Russian Beterbiev, 38, won the vacant IBF title against Enrico Koelling six years ago. He added the WBC belt to his collection with a win over Oleksandr Gvozdyk in 2019 and relieved Joe Smith Jr of his WBO bauble in June last year.

Beterbiev is the only current world champion with a 100 per cent knockout ratio.

Put simply, Bivol against Beterbiev is the classic boxer vs puncher matchup that the boxing world needs to see. A win would be a career defining victory for either fighter.

It’s a fight that Beterbiev would be down for.

“I want to win all the light heavyweight titles and then test myself in another weight class,” Beterbiev said to Tass.