By: Hans Themistode
No one is waiting in line to face WBA Light Heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol, but that hasn’t stopped him from calling out big name fighters to face him. Even those in other divisions.
Bivol (17-0, 11 KOs) has put together a solid championship run. Beating the likes of Jean Pascal, Joe Smith Jr and Sullivan Barrera amongst others. Facing no hopers isn’t on the mind of Bivol though. He’s more interested in facing other title holders. But with unified Light Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev tied up due to mandatory obligations, that leaves very little on the table for Bivol in his next contest.
That statement might be true at 175, but at 168, everything is wide open.
“I think it could be a great fight for Britain fans and for Russian fans,” said Bivol to Chris Lloyd on the Matchroom boxing podcast The Lockdown Tapes, when asked about a matchup with WBA Super Middleweight champion Callum Smith. “For boxing, it’s a good fight because he’s a champion at 168 pounds, and I am the champion at 175. I would like to fight against the best fighters in the world, and he’s now one of these guys who’s the best.”
In a perfect world, the 6 feet 3 Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) would move up in weight, but boxing is far from perfect and Smith seems just fine campaigning one weight class below. The seven pound difference isn’t an issue for Bivol though. He’s never been known as a big Light Heavyweight and his last fight proved it.
“[It’s] better at 175 because this is my weight. But I can move to 168. It’s not a problem for me, I think, because my last fight on the [weigh-in] day, I had breakfast before I weighed in. And I don’t feel thirsty on this day. I think I have a reserve to make [168 pounds].”
At first glance, a matchup between Bivol and Smith might come off as awkward. The two have never been seen in the same arena against one another, never mind the same ring. At least in the pros. In the amateurs however, these two are all too familiar with one another.
“It was in Hungary. To be honest, I don’t remember this fight at all because when we fight each other, for me it was just a guy from Great Britain, just a tall guy who has good skills. But I have to beat him. Only like that, my memories.”
If Bivol gets his wish, he’ll get his chance to replay that memory one more time.