Home Boxing News Dmitry Bivol will beat Arthur Beterbiev but it will be close, says...

Dmitry Bivol will beat Arthur Beterbiev but it will be close, says promoter

Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol

Eddie Hearn will admit when he’s wrong.

The Matchroom Boxing boss told anyone who would listen that his light heavyweight contender Callum ‘Mundo’ Smith 29-2 (21) would defeat WBC, WBO and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev 20-0 (20) at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada on Saturday night.

It didn’t play out that way. The 38-year-old Beterbiev, who was born in Russia but boxes out of Canada, was in control from the opening bell, backing up Britain’s Smith, 33, and methodically breaking him down. Beterbiev dropped Smith twice in the seventh before the challenger’s trainer Buddy McGirt implored referee Michael Griffin to halt the bout.

The victory for Beterbiev clears the way for a four-belt unification bout against WBA 175-pound champion Dmitry Bivol 22-0 (11), who Hearn represents.

Before the Smith fight, Hearn was adamant that Bivol would defeat Beterbiev. Now he is cautiously optimistic.

“I always back our guys,” Hearn said. “I truly believed Callum Smith would win tonight and I truly believe that Bivol would win. But seeing Beterbiev up close – that’s the second time I’ve seen him up close – he’s actually a lot better than he was against Callum Johnson [who he knocked out in four rounds in October 2018].

“I think he’s improved a lot. I know he’s getting older and you hope that he’s slowing down, but he’s not. He’s actually – I mean, I thought that was one of his best performances.”

Russian Bivol, 33, is a superb boxer, but even Hearn has reservations about how he will fare against a monster like Beterbiev with his distinct lack of power.

“Dmitry Bivol has tremendous movement, but you’ve gotta make a dent. It’s very difficult to outbox him over 12 rounds,” Hearn said.

“He’s gonna wear you down, he’s gonna force the pressure and, like I said, the shots around the back of the head, the shots on the ears, they really hurt. And I think Dmitry can do it, but it’s the only fight for both guys now.”

The Beterbiev-Bivol bout is in play for Saudi Arabia after Ramadan, which runs from 9 March to 8 April this year. The unified champion’s promoter Bob Arum is ready to make the fight.

“It’s not done yet. But absolutely we want to do it,” the Top Rank head honcho said. “I’ll be talking to my friend His Excellency Turki Alalshikh. I know he wants to do it, but Ramadan is coming. So, about three months after the end Ramadan we’ll be ready to fight Dmitry Bivol, probably in Riyadh.”

Beterbiev is keen for the fight too.

“Yes, of course,” he said when asked about the fight. “I need another belt. It would mean a lot to me.”

Hearn says Bivol has already signed on for the fight.

“From our side, we’ve already done the deal,” Hearn said. “You know, we’ve already done the deal with [Turki Alalshikh]. And it’s over to His Excellency to do the deal with Artur Beterbiev. So that’s the fight we expect next.”