WBC President Mauricio Suleiman said that as of today, a unification fight for the title of absolute world champion between Russian-born light heavyweights Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) and Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs) is impossible. Earlier, the organization decided to remove all representatives of Russia (and Belarus) from boxing due to the criminal invasion of the Russian army into the territory of independent Ukraine.
Beterbiev has been boxing under the Canadian flag for a long time, so this rule does not apply to him. But Bivol will have to somehow solve this issue. However, he had previously entered the ring under the flag of Kyrgyzstan.
“First of all, there should be a petition from the Bivol team. And so far it has not been,
explains Suleiman. – And if so, then Beterbiev’s next opponent will be his mandatory challenger, that is, Callum Smith. I repeat, Bivol did not apply to the WBC for permission to fight for our title. And at the last congress, we clearly announced our decision regarding the fighters from Russia and Belarus. Yes, that goes for Bivol too.”
According to Suleiman, “Smith has proved his level, he is an incredible fighter. He has only one loss in his career – Canelo Alvarez. So this mandatory protection is very important.”
So far, Beterbiev has three championship titles in this weight – WBC, IBF and WBO. The other day, he held a mandatory defense according to the WBO – in a fierce slugfest, he interrupted the Englishman Anthony Yarde. It is possible that after the fight with Smith, he will have to make a third mandatory defense in a row – with the winner of the IBF eliminator between Canadian Jean Pascal and German Michael Eifert.
One of the few who managed to drop the champion, Briton Callum Johnson is sure that “Beterbiev will be defeated by age.”