By: Sean Crose
“I really had a big dream to win this belt and I don’t want to leave it,” said WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol on the eve of his title defense against the undefeated Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez. “I will fight for this and I want to keep it. I want more. I feel I have something inside of me which I need to realize so I can be happy at the end of my career.” Bivol stunned a lot of people last spring when he defeated the one and only Canelo Alvarez in decisive fashion. Now, however, he has to face a 44-0 fighter who has not only previously been a world champion himself, but who – unlike Canelo – as operated solely as a light heavyweight for some time.
“I had it in three locations,” Bivol said of his training camp during the final press conference before the fight, which goes down Saturday at Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena. “I had a great camp everywhere. The last location was Abu Dhabi. I have been here since September 27th. I feel like I had everything that I needed for training. When I thought about resting, I had everything for resting here. When I met people in the gym or the mall everyone was really happy. People have been very welcoming to me and my team. People are welcoming to every tourist here. It’s good.”
Indeed, Bivol also took a moment during the press conference to compliment the host nation of the fight. “I’m looking forward to Saturday night,” he said to the media. “I believe it will be an exciting fight. Abu Dhabi will make more boxing fights and maybe boxing will be the main sport in Abu Dhabi. I hope it will be because this is my favourite sport in the world. I want to be everywhere, and people know the sport. It’s great. Thank you everyone.”
As for those who believe he peaked when he bested Canelo last spring, Bivol made it clear he didn’t like hearing such things. “When people tell me that I have achieved everything it’s like they pour water on my fire,” he said. “I try to only think about my dream, to realize my full potential. I try to be hungry and angry every time and be focused on training and my opponents. I try to think about how this Saturday night will be the hardest fight of my career. It makes me more focused on the night.”
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