Once-beaten light heavyweight contender Lyndon Arthur 23-1 (16) believes he has the right blend of youth and experience to dethrone longtime WBA 175-pound champion Dmitry Bivol 21-0 (11) blockbuster ‘Day of Reckoning’ card at Kingdom Arena in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday night.
The 32-year-old Brit is riding a four-fight win streak including three knockouts since his lone loss to two-time world title challenger and legitimate puncher Anthony Yarde 24-3 (23) by fourth-round knockout in their rematch two years ago. Arthur beat his 32-year-old countryman by split decision in their first fight one year earlier.
Arthur admits he likes the way Bivol operates and cites his clear-cut 12-round unanimous decision win over undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 60-2-2 (39) in May last year as proof of his quality. It was the 32-year-old Mexican superstar’s first loss in almost a decade, dating back to his fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr in September 2013.
“I am a huge fan of Dmitry Bivol, I have watched him over the years and understand completely what I am coming up against,” Arthur told Metro.co.uk. “But I have to go in and upset the plans.
“You can’t really take anything from previous opponents. This is the elite. We are talking about the man who beat Canelo and beat him quite comfortably. There is nothing you can take lightly at all.
“People like this are up there with people like Mayweather and names like that. They have a year off and come back and put on a boxing clinic. These kind of men can do that to you.”
The light heavyweight division is going through something of a renaissance in the United Kingdom right now with Callum Smith, Joshua Buatsi and Dan Azeez all in the mix at the upper echelon of the weight class.
“This division is booming now,” Arthur said. “There are a lot of fights to be made, lot of money to be made. “It can only be exciting, for the future of my division and boxing.”
Bivol has one of the trickiest styles in the sport to decipher, but Arthur insists he is not unbeatable.
“I can’t focus on what he might do wrong, it has to be about what I do right,” Arthur added.
“I have got a good team behind me, we have worked so hard for this and now it’s all about carrying it all out on that big stage. Bringing that belt back to Manchester would be surreal but I am excited to do it.”
While Bivol has one eye on a four-belt unification bout against WBC, WBO and IBF champion Arthur Beterbiev 19-0 (19), he says he is not overlooking Arthur.
“I saw Arthur’s fights versus Anthony Yarde and saw his last fight versus [Braian] Suarez,” Bivol told ESPN. “I could tell he uses his jab and tries to counterpunch with his right hand.
“Counterpunchers are dangerous because you don’t see the punches, so I have to be very careful against him. I need to be focused all fight, and treat him seriously.
“I think that when we signed the contract to fight Arthur, Saudi Arabia said it wanted to see my future fight with Beterbiev there. I believe it can happen. I have to win this fight to keep moving forward to my goal of becoming undisputed world champion.”