WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol 22-0 (11) expects WBC, WBO and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev 20-0 (20) to give him a much sterner test than undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 60-2-2 (39).
The two 175-pound titleholders have long been linked to a matchup for all the marbles and with the lucrative backing of Saudi Arabia, it looks like the bout will finally take place this year.
Russia’s Bivol, 33, scored the biggest win over his career two years ago when he clearly outpointed Mexican superstar Alvarez, also 33, to win via unanimous decision.
Bivol says he expect 39-year-old Russian-born Canadian Beterbiev to provide him with more resistance than Alvarez did.
“To be honest I believe that it is the hardest test,” said Bivol on Matchroom Boxing’s ‘Flash Knockdown’ podcast. “Why? Because he is stronger. I know that he is physically stronger than Canelo. He has good technique too. Many people talk about his power but they forget about his technique because his power is so much better than his technique, but he still had good technique.
“First of all he is strong, very strong. He’s like stone. His punches are very hard and his body is hard. He believes in himself a lot. He has experience, a lot of experience. If you look at his pro record, he doesn’t have too many fights, but he has a lot of experience in the amateurs. It helps him. He uses body shots with his right hand – it’s a good body shot. And he’s strong, this is one of the most important things.
“We’re all human. We all have weak sides. We all have good sides. Even him, we saw some of the moments which he wasn’t good in his last fight. I just need to create as many moments as I can that aren’t comfortable for him and I shouldn’t let him create moments that are uncomfortable for me. That’s it. It’s easy to be honest. We don’t need to think about it too much. Just do your work. I have to do my work and I know I can win if I do my work well.”
Last month Bivol scored an easy points win over Lyndon Arthur 23-2 (16) in Saudi Arabia, winning by shutout.
“I’m happy that everything was under my control,” Bivol said of the fight. “I felt good for all 12 rounds. I was breathing well and I kept my health. Now I am excited to have another fight. I didn’t damage my body too much with my last fight. I have strength to fight again.”
Earlier this month Beterbiev turned back the challenge of Callum Smith 29-2 (21) in seven rounds in Quebec, Canada.
“Of course I watched the fight. I wasn’t surprised too much to be honest. Beterbiev was good as I expected to be against Smith. I didn’t see something new. He was powerful like he was before and he did his job well,” Bivol said.
“I thought he would win. I didn’t have any expectation how he would win. I just felt like he should win. He won like he won and I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t surprised that he was coming too close to Smith easily. He just did his job well.
“I love boxing so much. I like smart boxing and I want to believe that I’m showing this boxing to the people. It should be better than power or just speed. I hope the skills should win. I hope I have enough skills to win this fight. I will push myself to do it.”